Friday, August 18, 2017

Midnight Meme Of The Day


-by Noah

Ladies and Gents, the president FOX “News” brought us:


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Charlie Crist's Approach: Clichés Over Substance


Obama beat Romney in FL-13 by over 10 points-- 54.6% to 43.9%. Hillary, a much weaker candidate, also won the district-- 49.6% to 46.4%. Former lifelong Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat the very opportunistic Charlie Crist ran as a pretend-Democrat against moderate Republican incumbent David Jolly and beat him 184,693 (51.9%) to 171,149 (48.1%). Jolly spent $2,176,451 and Crist spent $1,975,501 but the DCCC threw in $1,086,651 and Pelosi SuperPAC threw in another $1,567,917 to bolster Crist while neither the NRCC nor Ryan's SuperPAC spent a dime on Jolly.

An acquaintance of mine, working as a consultant on Crist's time, made an effort to persuade me that Crist was a stalwart progressive now and that Blue America should endorse him. We passed on that without with ado-- luckily... because Crist got into Congress and immediately started the hard work of voting with the Republicans enough to earn an "F" from ProgressivePunch. And he joined both New Dems and the Blue Dogs-- basically the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. His crucial vote ProgressivePunch score is 42.86. There are only 8 Democrats who have worse voting records. And there's only one Republican-- Justin Amash (MI)-- with a better voting record. Crist has the highest Trump adhesion score (26.8%) of any Florida Democrat in Congress. (He sucks; all he does is raise money from special interests-- $1,221,317 already this year-- and then support whatever they're peddling.)

So I wasn't very surprised when his newest fundraising letter-- under the asinine subject line "My Approach: People Over Politics"-- turned out to be this week's stinker. It should have been called "My Approach: Clichés Over Substance." Take a look at this and see how many clichés you can pick out:

Hi Howie,

Are you tired of the political games in Washington? I sure am.

My approach to public service has always been to put people over politics. We get things done by working together, not by pulling each other down to win the next political fight. 

We're dealing with real issues that have real implications for people's lives. We need to create new jobs, raise wages, protect our shores, honor our veterans, make education a priority, and ensure that everyone is treated with respect and civility. The list goes on and on.

I know we can do better than the dysfunction we're seeing today -- and I'm going to continue to work every day to bring people together.

I hope you'll be a part of this winning team: Stay up-to-date with my campaign by joining me on Facebook today!

Thanks for listening,
And, yeah, although he's separated or divorced from his beard now, he's still in the closet. It's 2017 and closets are for Republicans, not Democrats (Except for Ben Gay, apparently). What joke! What a pathetic joke. This turd is a congressman. No wonder people don't understand why it's wrong to vote for a character like Trumpanzee!

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How Badly Will Trump's Stroll Through The Garden Of Racism Hurt GOP Candidates In 2018?


Yesterday we noted that Randy Bryce is calling on Paul Ryan to lead the House in censuring Trump for his pro-Nazi, pro-KKK remarks. Up top is the video and yesterday 3 of Congress' most serious progressives, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) announced a resolution of censure in the House against Señor Trumpanzee for his remarks at Trumpanzee Tower Tuesday re-asserting earlier comments that "both sides" were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and excusing the behavior of participants in the 'Unite the Right' rally. Pramila, in announcing the resolution, noted that "not even a week has passed since the tragedy in Charlottesville. But on Tuesday, the president poured salt on the nation’s wounds by defending those who marched with white supremacists. In an unscripted press conference, we saw the real and unfiltered Donald Trump-- the logical endpoint for a man who has consistently trafficked in racism throughout his career. The American people expect their leaders to condemn white supremacy in unambiguous terms. President Trump not only failed at condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he stood up for them-- for that he must be censured. The president’s conduct is un-American and it must stop." The resolution censuring and condemning Trump is set to be introduced on Friday, August 18, when the House is next in pro forma session. This is it:
Censuring and condemning President Donald Trump.
Whereas on August 11, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a gathering of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan (KKK) members, and other alt-Right, white nationalist groups, marched through the streets with torches as part of a coordinated ‘Unite the Right’ rally spewing racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred;

Whereas on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. rammed into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others;

Whereas President Donald Trump’s immediate public comments rebuked “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism;

Whereas on August 15, 2017 President Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower where he re-asserted that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attempted to create a moral equivalency between white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi groups and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally;

Whereas President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisors and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, alt-Right, racist and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country;

Whereas President Donald Trump has provided tacit encouragement and little to no denunciation of white supremacist groups and individuals who promote their bigoted, nationalist ideology and policies;

Whereas President Donald Trump has failed to provide adequate condemnation and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1)   does hereby censure and condemn President Donald Trump for his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for re-asserting that “both sides” were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, and for employing people with ties to white supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka; and

(2)   does hereby urge President Donald Trump to fire any and all White House advisors who have urged him to cater to the alt-Right movement in the United States.
I don't expect many-- if any-- Republicans to go along with this. I bet that not one musters the political courage to vote for it. In fact, it's hard it imagine Ryan and McCarthy even allowing it to come to the floor for a vote. Ryan's own statement, for the sake of concerned Wisconsin voters, who have been catching on to him as an enabler of Trump, was that "We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity." And he unambiguously refused to name Trump or his regime.

Ryan appointed Steve Stivers (R-OH) to chair the NRCC whose task is to minimize the GOP's 2018 midterm losses. Trump's stroll into the court of public opinion holding hands with the Nazis and KKK probably won't help that effort and Stivers, clearly frustrated, blurted out "I don't understand what's so hard about this. White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are evil and shouldn't be defended." He forgot to mention Trump.

Texas Republican Will Hurd is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress. Hillary won his south Texas 71% Hispanic district last year 49.8% to 46.4%. Unless the DCCC screws it up by nominating another Blue Dog who residents have already shown they do not want, Hurd will lose next year. He urged someone unnamed to "Apologize. Racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, of any form is unacceptable. And the leader of the free world should be unambiguous about that." Well... "leader of the free world" might be a clue-- could be Angela Merkel-- but many-- too many-- Trump supporters don't have the bandwidth to put something that abstract together.

There's been a lot of chatter that Ohio Governor John Kasich is planning a primary challenge to Trump in 2020 if he hasn't been removed from office by then. He made a nice meme for his Twitter followers:

Little Marco (R-FL) is also eager to figure out how he can worm out from under his pledge to not run for president again until after serving a full 6 year Senate term. He's starting to get antsy about running against Trump too. He found himself in a tweet storm yesterday, which I can't get a screen shot of because he blocked me: "The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons. They are adherents of an evil ideology which argues certain people are inferior because of race, ethnicity or nation of origin. … These groups today use SAME symbols & same arguments of #Nazi & #KKK, groups responsible for some of worst crimes against humanity ever. Mr. President, you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain. The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We cannot allow this old evil to be resurrected." Little Marco has certainly gone further than most of the Republicans in the Senate.

But as Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Rachael Bade reported, the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Department of Justice’s handling of domestic terrorism, has no immediate plans to schedule an investigation into the domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, despite calls from Democrats that just such an investigation is essential. And Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has no interest in a Charlottesville hearing either. Maybe another one on Hillary's e-mails? "GOP sources suggested it might be too early to tell whether Congress should get involved. And some question what tangible action Congress could take to help the situation, aside from calling public attention to the issue through hearings."

Barbara Lee (D-CA) had some ideas on that Wednesday morning: "We cannot address the dangerous spread of white supremacy in America without first assessing its influence on our nation's highest office," she explained to her constituents in Oakland and Berkley. "Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump defended the white supremacists who descended upon Charlottesville this past weekend while insisting there was blame 'on both sides.' As disturbing as his comments are, they should come as no surprise. As long as Trump has senior advisors with ties to white nationalist groups, he will never fully condemn racism and bigotry. That's why I wrote a letter to Trump yesterday calling for the removal of three prominent White House aides who are involved with the alt-right: Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka. It's time to root out white nationalism at the White House... By placing these three men in his administration, Trump has elevated hate and discrimination to the highest levels of our government. He has signaled to white supremacists that they are no longer a fringe group-- they now have advocates advising the president with their agenda in mind. We have already seen a manifestation of that agenda, from the Muslim ban and a ban on transgender Americans in the military, to raids on immigrant communities and attempts to perpetuate the era of mass incarceration and roll back voting rights. These policies are a result of the far-right extremist ideology held by Trump's top advisors."

John Harwood summed up the predicament the country finds itself in with an essay he penned for CNBC, Trump has a very clear attitude about morality: He doesn't believe in it. "Trump," he wrote, "combines indifference to conventional notions of morality or propriety with disbelief that others would be motivated by them" and noted that the more Trumpanzee "reveals his character, the more he isolates himself from the American mainstream." He was contemptuous of the business leaders who stormed for the exits of his corporate advisory committees and wound up shutting down both committees when it was clear no one would be left except for an embarrassed handful of Nazi and KKK sympathizers.
As president, Trump has emphasized power over morality. Seeking passage of health-care legislation-- which violated his explicit campaign promises-- Trump chided a reluctant GOP senator with a veiled threat.

...When Pope Francis called emphasizing walls over bridge-building "not Christian," Trump ascribed it to political manipulation. The pope, he said, was a "pawn" of Mexico.

Trump touted duplicity in business as a leadership credential, boasting that he once took advantage of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a real estate deal. "I screwed him," he said. "That's what we should be doing."

Though Trump cast that talent as an asset for the nation, a Fortune magazine review of his business career found this first principle: "He always comes first."

The president's fellow Republicans learned that to their chagrin in 2016, and reached common conclusions about his character.

"A con man," said. Sen. Marco Rubio. "Utterly amoral," said Sen. Ted Cruz.

"Dishonesty is Trump's hallmark," declared Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee. "He's playing the American people for suckers."

Increasing numbers of Americans have reached that conclusion. In a Quinnipiac University poll this month, 62 percent called the president not honest, up from 52 percent last November.

Moreover, 63 percent said Trump does not share their values. That undercuts his ability to lead average Americans, lawmakers, business executives or foreign leaders toward common goals.

"In a president, character is everything," Republican commentator Peggy Noonan has written. "You can't buy courage and decency. You can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him."

Paul Ryan too. I hope CNN will pay attention to NARAL's message above. No one wants a CNN infomercial from Paul Ryan. Everyone wants a real, honest-to-goodness debate between him and Randy Bryce. Ryan has ducked accountability long enough and hidden behind the Speakers chair. CNN shouldn't be an enabler. He may not be as crude and senile as Trump, but he's the same kind of putrid, unspeakable garbage that needs to be driven out of this country's political sphere-- and soon. And that starts by exposing him as an empty suit, something Randy Bryce should get an opportunity to do on national television. It's up to CNN.

White Power

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Charlottesville: Trump's Very Fine People


It's absolutely crucial to watch the video above to get an understanding about who the "alt-right"-- the American neo-Nazi movement Trump has been equivocating about-- is, and what happened in Charlottesville and why it happened. It wasn't a "both sides" kind of thing that Bannon has Trump saying it was. Hundreds of the Nazis descended on Charlottesville, heavily armed and filled with anti-semitism, racism and intense feelings on inadequacy and victimhood. They were looking for attention for their movement-- and for excitement and a sense of belonging... justifications for pointless, brutish, failed lives.

This is Steve Bannon's wing of the Republican Party that Republicans in Congress are horrified by but reluctant to admit is an inherent part of Trumpism. This could happen in your town too-- and Bannon wants you to know that... just in case you have any ideas about removing Trump from office. This is the threat. Here's how a small city in Bavaria, Wunsiedel-- where Nazi Rudolph Hess was born and buried-- successfully got rid of their neo-Nazi problem starting in 2014. The folks in the town decided to start contributing money to anti-fascist organizations for every step the neo-Nazis took in their marches through their city. They were welcomed to the town as part of a Nazis Against Nazis walkathon. The more the Nazis marched, the more money "they" raised for anti-Nazi organizations.

This morning Trumpanzee was up and tweeting his disdain for America-- maliciously pouring gasoline of the fire. FDR famously said he welcomes the hatred of the predatory banksters. Trump seems to welcome the hatred of the American people. Or is he just trying to push the adults in his regime out with tweets like this? I wonder if this is enough for Paul Ryan to finally denounce him and allow the resolution of censure to come to the floor.

Oh, and that spokesman for the Nazis in the Vice video in Charlottesville up top... the one who just couldn't stop running his foul, ugly mouth... he posted a followup clip on YouTube yesterday, poor widdle snowflake... but ultimately, this is Trumpanzee himself and every single Trump supporter rolled up into one:

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​The Liberal Meritocracy at Work


Liberal meritocracy in action. Slick new buses like these ferry high tech workers to and from Bay Area jobs, using city bus stops as pickup points. The city gets "a pittance" for each "stop event" while the city's less-connected citizens get no right at all to ride them (source).

by Gaius Publius

Thomas Frank has made the point many times that the modern Democratic Party has abandoned the working class, and indeed most of the middle class, and that today its true constituency is really just the "professional" class, the upper 10%, more or less.

That makes a kind of sense if, cynical electoral financing decisions aside, people who actually run the Democratic Party inhabit a culture that considers only the "smart" and "accomplished" truly deserving. Consider the constant praise from mainstream Democrats, for example, of the "entrepreneurial" or "creative" class and how these wannabe billionaires — riders of Google Buses in San Francisco, a kind of alt-transportation system to which only high tech workers have access — can be counted on to lift the rest of the country out of the depths and into a new age of job creation (in China).

There could not be a more striking example of this kind of meritocracy than the following email from the Podesta Wikileaks archives (h/t commenter John Wright in this Naked Capitalism thread). It was sent from Clinton supporter and UC Berkeley Professor Brad DeLong during the primary season to Clinton supporter and Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden:
Date: 2015-07-31 15:42

Subject: So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…

Dear Neera (and John)—

So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…

I think he is a very, very strong candidate on the merits, given what he has been doing in Portland at Ceasefire Oregon in the three years since he graduated from Reed College, and how effective he has been there. But I find myself somewhat anxious [that] somebody already in Washington and with better connections might crowd him out…

May I beg you to reassure me?


Brad DeLong
When the working class does this, of course, it's called nepotism. I'm sure at Neera Tanden's level it's called "networking."

There were several notes about DeLong's son's job availability sprinkled among the Podesta emails that involved Professor DeLong, and it's certainly true that fathers and mothers everywhere have attempted to ease their children's entry into the job market by asking for a boost from friends. I don't fault the act.

What makes this stand out, though, is not DeLong's interest in seeing his son hired, but his stated fear that his son would be lose his slot at CAP, not to someone better qualified, but to someone better connected.

Thus the "meritorious" competition seems recognized as not between the talented and connected; just between the connected. "I find myself somewhat anxious [that] somebody already in Washington and with better connections might crowd him out… May I beg you to reassure me?"

A small thing perhaps, and certainly not a strike against DeLong for asking. Every father should love his children, and DeLong's son does sound accomplished.

Nevertheless, this is a striking reminder of what concepts like "democracy" and "rights" mean to mainstream (Clinton wing and Obama wing) Democrats as a group, as they struggle with the problem of offering to the rest of us — or working to deny it — the same "rights" that the Party elite and its servicing ecosystem already enjoy as privileges of class, like access to affordable, quality medical care.

Schedule note: I'll be reading but not writing for about two weeks, restarting after Labor Day.


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Jimmy Kimmel: "I Would Feel More Comfortable If Cercei Lannister Was Running This Country At This Point"


Tuesday night, reported Maggie Haberman, Señor Trumpanzee was in a very good mood after his press conference. Her White House sources told her he felt liberated after doing what he wanted. The next morning, Heather Heyer was buried. Neither Trump nor Pence bothered to attend. Not one of the "very fine people?" Haberman also reported that Gary Cohn is said to be deeply upset by the events of the last few days and Trump's responses, "per multiple sources," but that he's not leaving administration-- not happy but not leaving. One twitter wag came up with this:

Jonathan Chait's account about the horror that gripped the non-Bannonites on White House staff when Trump unmasked himself in front of the media Tuesday is worth reading. These staffers, he wrote "have rarely registered their dismay as nakedly as they did Tuesday night, when he spontaneously altered a plan to deliver remarks on infrastructure without taking questions into a free-form defense of white supremacists. One official told NBC News that Trump had 'gone rogue.' Mike Allen reports that chief economic adviser Gary Cohn is 'between appalled and furious,' and that there is a danger one or more high-level officials could resign." Chief of staff John Kelly looked like someone kicked him in the stomach while Trump decided it was acceptable to call his Nazi supporters "fine people" and to equate them, morally, to anti-Nazis-- or even not as good as the Nazis because the Nazis had a permit and the counter-demonstrators didn't.
But it is important to understand the precise nature of their distress. It is emphatically not because they are shocked to learn their boss is a racist, a fact that has been established through numerous episodes, such as Trump’s insistence a Mexican-American judge was inherently biased against him, his call for a Muslim immigration ban, his slander of Ghazala Khan, and so on. They are angry that Trump revealed beliefs they wish to keep hidden. “Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private,” reports the New York Times.

This raises the question once again of why they are working for Trump at all. A legitimate public rationale can be made for serving the administration in certain roles. The federal government plays a vital role in domestic and global security, Trump is a dangerous and erratic figure, and somebody needs to try to steer him away from decisions that would provoke unalterable tragedy. That justification covers serving Trump as a foreign-policy adviser, or as homeland security and disaster-response officials.

But what what justification can the domestic and political advisers offer? Any benefit they can get by helping produce what they regard as better policies is surely offset by the cover they (and their policy successes, should they produce any) provide him.

Suppose yesterday’s remarks had gone off as planned. Suppose Trump had pushed his message of infrastructure. Suppose further every subsequent step also worked as planned-- Trump manages to build political support for the huge infrastructure build-out he campaigned upon, and created millions of jobs and the backdrops for several powerful reelection campaign ads. All they would have done is fulfill Steve Bannon’s dream of a worker’s party uniting economic populism with ethnonationalist grievance. “Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up,” he told Michael Wolff after the election, “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution-- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.” ... Preventing Trump from doing something damaging is a legitimate and even noble calling. But that admirable motivation can easily mutate into rationalization. Are Trump aides really working to protect the country from him? Or are they working to keep the country from seeing his real nature?
Haberman and Glenn Thrush noted that never before had Trumpanzee gone as far in defending the actions of his Nazi and KKK supporters "as he did during a wild, street-corner shouting match of a news conference in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and 'Trump/Pence' signs... No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as 'unprecedented.' But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. The National Economic Council chairman, Gary D. Cohn, and the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray."

Last Supper by Nancy Ohanian

And, sadly, as James Hohmann pointed at for Washington Post readers Wednesday morning, false moral equivalency isn't a bug of Trumpism; it's a feature. He wrote that it's "part of a pattern" for Trump to be unable to discern between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. Just a few months ago Trump compared the U.S. intelligence community to Nazis, something he no doubt got by listening to Alex Jones, his bestie who claimed this week that there were no Nazis or KKK members in Charlottesville, just "Jewish actors" trying to make Trump, Pence and the Republican Party look bad. Trump's fulsome embrace of the gangsterism, thuggish Putin should have alerted everyone in America of that pattern long ago.
“The president’s rhetorical ricochet … seemed almost perfectly designed to highlight some basic truths about Donald Trump,” observes Marc Fisher, who co-authored The Post’s Trump Revealed biography last year. “He does not like to be told what to say. He will always find a way to pull the conversation back to himself. And he is preternaturally inclined to dance with the ones who brought him …Trump said Tuesday that Saturday’s confrontation ‘was a horrible day.’ And he made clear again that ‘the driver of the car’ that plowed into pedestrians in Charlottesville ‘is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country.’ But then the president turned to one of his favorite rhetorical tools, using casual language to strip away any definite blame, any clear moral stand, and instead send the message that nothing is certain, that everything is negotiable, that ethics are always situational. ‘You can call it terrorism,’ he said. ‘You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want.’”

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The Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Last year, when NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers franchise, famously took a knee during a pre-game playing of the National Anthem, he did it to call attention to racial and economic injustice. That caused Republicans, all too predictably, to go ballistic. How dare he protest injustice! Injustice is our creed! It’s why we live!

In short order, the braying hounds of hypocrisy twisted Kaepernick’s dastardly deed into some sort of insult against police, the military, the banks, white America, the entire country, Miss America, deep dish apple pie, you have it. It was and remains a frenzy bordering on their insane claims that ol’ “Lock her up” HRC is running a child sex slave business out of a pizza shop in suburban Maryland and some guy was born in Kenya, or something.

Since then, Kaepernick, who was good enough to lead his team to the 2013 Super Bowl, first got demoted to second string. When he did appear on the field, he was booed by his now brainwashed former fans and others who felt the need to pile on. Despite his talent, he is now not even a second stringer. He is a free agent, looking for a job in the NFL while other quarterbacks of lesser talent are eagerly scooped up. It appears that he is being blackballed from playing in the NFL. Joe McCarthy is smiling way down in the depths of Hell.

In the meantime, a variety of players who beat their wives, girlfriends, and/or children, or, have been arrested on gun or drug charges have merely served a brief suspension or paid a fine, and been forgiven and reinstated to take the field and play every week, but not Colin Kaepernick. He took a knee!!!

Colin Kaepernick: That guy! There’s something way more wrong with that guy! The fans who boo Kaepernick have no problem wildly cheering for their reinstated criminal wife-beating, child abusing heroes. It makes one wonder what would happen if O.J. Simpson still had enough youth and ability to play.

It now gets even worse: Those same people who had soooo much to say about Colin Kaepernick; those same Republicans and media hacks have zero problem with people who raise their hands in a Nazi salute and chant anti-Semitic and racist slogans to their charred little hearts’ content. They remain eerily and disgustingly silent about all of that. Where does NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stand on all of this? Who knows? Except for a few excruciatingly bland statements, he’s strangely silent, too, or just completely gutless.

Now that the NFL pre-season is underway, this seems to be an appropriate day for this meme. Don’t forget to share with your friends. Why not even tweet the meme to Roger Goodell, and that mentally ill goon in the White House, too? Ooooh, and I bet Sean Hannity would absolutely love it! Think how torn and confused he’ll be when he sees a black man and some neo-Nazis suddenly appear on his phone at the very same instant! He won’t know what to do. 10 to 1 odds, he burns his phone and goes out to get a new one. Then you can send it to him again.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trumpanzee's Jews Aren't Anything Like Normal Jews


I wonder if all the vehement anti-Semitism on display from a newly empowered fascist movement-- they call it "alt-right" these days-- is making the modern day Bugsy Siegal-- Vegas mob boss Sheldon Adelson-- just a little nervous. If the Steve Bannon wing of the Republican power ever gains ultimate power, I'm sure there's a gas chamber that even someone as grossly rotund as Adelson can be stuffed into. Maybe that's why he's getting a little nervous about the fascist campaign to demonize H.R. McMaster. Normal people don't hear much about it, but the Bannon vs McMaster brawl is center stage in the fever swamps of the far right and inside TrumpWorld. Adelson weighing in is a big deal since he routinely funnels millions of dollars annually into the Republican Party from the Mafia, from interests in China and from interests in Israel.

Writing for Axios yesterday, Jonathan Swan reported that the virulently anti-union billionaire "has disavowed a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which is being pushed by a group Adelson funds, the Zionist Organization of America. Andy Abboud, who represents Adelson, tells me: 'Sheldon Adelson has nothing to do with the ZOA campaign against McMaster. Had no knowledge of it. And has provided zero support, and is perfectly comfortable with the role that McMaster is playing.'"

Since then Adelson has updated his position with a telephone clarification to Axios which emphasizes that Adelson doesn't know McMaster and hasn't developed an opinion about him. Adelson doesn't want his intervention to be interpreted as a political endorsement; but rather that he has had nothing to do with, and doesn't support, the campaign against McMaster.

This is of interest and some import because Adelson is one of the biggest financial contributors "in Republican politics, and his influence over national security and Israel-related matters is substantial. His is a voice listened to by President Trump and other senior White House officials like Jared Kushner." Not by serious policy experts, of course, but by grifters like Trump and Kushner. Zionist Organization of America represents the far right of Israeli politics in America and the Adelsons give them immense sums of money. Somewhat ironically, they have thrown their lot in with the alt-right, the center of American anti-Semitism and their completely deranged crackpot president, Mort Klein, is about one step away from buying a tiki torch and waving a swastika banner at shuel. Klein is very tight with Trump's neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who accuses McMaster of being "soft on Israel and unserious about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. He's called for Trump to 'reassign' McMaster 'to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues.' Klein is increasingly isolated in his opposition to McMaster. His only senior ally inside the White House is Bannon; the rest of the senior staff has united in disgust at the outside campaign against McMaster. David Friedman, Trump's staunchly pro-Israel ambassador, is vouching for McMaster, though he was unable to convince Klein."

David Frum noted on Twitter this morning that his rabbi had posted this comment (above) on his Facebook page. It's from a Charlottesville resident. Did Señor Trumpanzee think these were some of the "very fine people" marching around Friday and Saturday with Nazi and KKK symbols and waving "Elect Trump-Pence" signs? Virginia's governor certainly didn't think they were very fine.

As Emma Green pointed out for Atlantic readers yesterday, Trump's very fine Charlottesville marchers were obsessed with Jews. Trumpanzee can insist all he wants that the "Unite the Right" activities were about protecting their cultural heritage and the Robert E. Lee statue, but what does that have to do with "Jews will not replace us?" She wrote that "Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like 'blood and soil,' a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. 'This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,' one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying... [T]he connection between African Americans and Jews is clear. In the minds of white supremacists like David Duke, there is a straight line from anti-blackness to anti-Judaism. That logic is powerful and important. The durability of anti-Semitic tropes, and the ease with which they slide into all displays of bigotry, is a chilling reminder that the hatreds of our time rhyme with history and are easily channeled through timeless anti-Semitic canards... [T]he violence in Charlottesville was part of a broader political context. The fringe right is reacting to other political movements with nostalgia, Feld said-- a yearning for people, including minorities like Jews and blacks, to 'know their place.'"

And while normal people were horrified by Trump trying to equate Nazis and the Klan with those protesting Nazis and the Klan, actual Nazis and the Klan applauded their president. KKK leader David Duke tweeted his gratitude to Trump: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa." A Nazi leader (Tim Gionet) of the Unite the Right movement who goes by the nom de guerre "Baked Alaska" tweeted that "President Trump is right! One side had a permit to speak, one side charged with clubs & weapons! Look at the facts people." So that's their crazy world. All these people really, really deserve each other. But the country doesn't. I'm sensing an uptick in the number of Americans who now think Trump needs to be impeached.

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Economic Inequality Matters


This afternoon, Alan Grayson, who had just watched the video above, told us that "Since the Enlightenment began, people have been fishing around for some kind of extrinsic validation of the concept of 'justice' For instance, the first two sentences of the Declaration of Independence appeal to 'the Laws of Nature,' 'Nature’s God,' the 'opinions of mankind' and the 'Creator.' What the de Waal experiment shows is that there is no need to look outside of ourselves to justify justice; we can look inside. If it’s in capuchin monkeys, then surely it’s in us, too. All of us."

David Gill is an emergency room physician running for Congress in Illinois' 13th congressional district against hapless rubber stamp Republican Rodney Davis. There was no one I could think of better to help explain the experiment in the video above. "Economic inequality," he told us this morning, "has been an ever-expanding problem in America for two generations now, with so many Americans coming to realize that no matter how hard they work, they will never have the opportunity to better their lot in life. And the driving force behind this loss of the American Dream for the majority of us is this: for at least the past three decades, we've had both major political parties groveling at the feet of Wall Street banks and large multi-national corporations. This corporate ownership of our politics and our government leaves the vast majority of us without proper representation and results in overwhelming economic injustice.

"The consequences of having both parties selling themselves to Corporate America are numerous: lack of a single-payer healthcare system, a ridiculously inadequate minimum wage, an incredibly bloated defense budget at the expense of needed social programs, a tax system designed to maintain the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few.

"The chronicity and the ever-widening nature of our economic inequality takes its toll-- it feeds a hopelessness and a political apathy that then results in the election of individuals even less concerned with the well-being of ordinary Americans, and resulting in turn in a vicious cycle. I'm running for Congress to be a part of breaking that cycle."

Please help Dr. Gill get his message out in IL-13 by contributing to his entirely grassroots campaign here at the Blue America ActBlue page.

Yesterday, Nate Cohn tried explaining to NY Times readers what the 9.2% of Trump voters who backed Obama in 2012-- basically white voters without a college degree-- have in their minds. He reminds us that these voters are pivotal-- and up for grabs. Hillary isn't president, he wrote, "primarily because of the narrow but deep swing among white working-class voters who were overrepresented in decisive battleground states... Just 74 percent of white Obama voters with a high school diploma or less backed Mrs. Clinton in the voter study group study cited by Mr. Milbank... The data from these surveys sends a mixed message. Strong evidence suggests a lot of these voters will lean Republican for the foreseeable future, and certainly will lean toward Mr. Trump. But Democrats can still win a meaningful and potentially decisive share of these voters, many of whom probably voted Democratic down-ballot in 2016. Here’s what one survey, the C.C.E.S., says about these voters:"
THEY HAD SOURED ON MR. OBAMA Just 29 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump voters approved of his performance, and 69 percent disapproved. Similarly, 75 percent said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Only 15 percent believed the economy had improved over the last year, and just 23 percent said their income had increased over the last four years.

THEY LARGELY BACK THE TRUMP AGENDA The Obama-Trump voters generally support Mr. Trump’s key campaign pledges on immigration, police, infrastructure spending, trade and the environment. This isn’t too surprising: Surveys conducted long before the 2016 election showed that a large share of white working-class Democratic-leaning voters backed the conservative-populist position on these issues.

THEY’RE NOT NECESSARILY RELUCTANT TRUMP VOTERSAmong those who voted in the 2016 primary (65 percent of the Obama-Trump vote), 54 percent of Obama-Trump voters reported backing Mr. Trump in the Republican presidential primary, according to the C.C.E.S., a sign that many of them are pretty strong and consistent supporters of Mr. Trump. Only 9 percent supported another Republican, less than the share that supported Mrs. Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Taken together, the data indicates that Mr. Trump had considerable and possibly unique appeal to an important slice of Democratic-leaning voters. Mr. Trump adopted a platform tailored to white working-class Democrats. In doing so, he neutralized many traditional Democratic lines of attack against typical Republicans like Mitt Romney. Many of these voters backed him in the primary and seemed to prefer his brand of populism, suggesting they probably would have backed Mr. Trump no matter which Democrat he faced.

MANY NOW CONSIDER THEMSELVES REPUBLICAN-LEANERS A Pew Research Center panel study found that fully 18 percent of white working-class voters who leaned Democratic as late as December 2015 reported leaning Republican by December 2016. That timing is significant: It implies that these voters continued to tilt toward the Democrats all the way until the 2016 campaign.

Similarly, the C.C.E.S. found that 45 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Republican-leaners in their postelection study.

The voters who both voted for Mr. Trump and say they lean Republican have probably taken a big step toward becoming consistent Republican voters. They seem relatively difficult for Democrats to lure back.

RACIAL RESENTMENT WAS A BIG FACTOR Using this and other data, political scientists have argued that racial resentment is the strongest predictor of whether voters flipped from Mr. Obama to Mr. Trump, and the biggest driver of Trump support among these voters.

Yes, racial resentment is the strongest predictor of the Obama-Trump vote in this survey data. White, working-class Obama voters with racially conservative views were very likely to flip to the Republicans. For example, Mrs. Clinton won just 47 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who disagreed with the idea that “white people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.” In contrast, she retained 88 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who agreed that white people have certain advantages.

Nonetheless, voters with high racial resentment did not necessarily represent the preponderance of the Obama-Trump vote, because Mr. Obama had already lost nearly all such voters by 2012. To take the prior example: 49 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump supporters at least somewhat disagreed with the notion that white people had certain advantages.

MANY REMAIN PERSUADABLE The C.C.E.S. found that 26 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Democrats in their postelection study, while 35 percent were Republicans and 37 percent were independents. Including those independents who lean toward a party, Republicans led by a wider margin of 45 percent to 30 percent. Even so, that’s a significant share who continue to identify with the Democratic Party despite voting for Mr. Trump.

Democrats were probably still winning a lot of these voters in 2016. The results speak for themselves to some extent. Jason Kander lost his Senate race in Missouri by just three percentage points, even as Mrs. Clinton lost by 20 points. Even Democrats who didn’t run ahead of Mrs. Clinton over all-- like Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin or Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania-- nonetheless ran far ahead of Mrs. Clinton in traditionally Democratic, white working-class areas.

Mrs. Duckworth’s performance is probably the most telling. She won Illinois’s 12th Congressional District-- a downstate, working-class district now held by Republican Mike Bost-- by nine points. Mr. Trump won it by 12 points.

Mr. Bost might seem like a fairly safe Republican for re-election, if you judge the partisanship of his district strictly by his party’s performance in the last presidential election. He certainly would be safe if Democrats wrote off Obama-Trump voters. But the willingness of these voters to support a Democrat for federal office against an incumbent Republican in a fairly decent year for Republicans suggests that at least these Obama-Trump voters remain in play, and Mr. Bost is more vulnerable than it might initially seem.

More generally, there is reason to think these voters are likelier to vote for a Democrat against a more traditional Republican who hasn’t developed a message to match Mr. Trump’s appeal to white working-class Democrats. These voters, for instance, tend to support abortion rights and same-sex marriage. They support a higher minimum wage.

All considered, it does seem likely that at least a portion of the Obama-Trump vote can be lured back to the Democrats-- especially against traditional Republican candidates who emphasize small government, free markets and social conservatism.

Whether that means it should be the crux of the Democrats’ path to power is another question. But it will most likely be a part of it, and will probably need to be for Democrats to secure parts of the Rust Belt that continue to play an outsize role in American elections.

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Dems Need To Learn From The Failures The Bad Policies The Corporate Wing Of The Party Have Saddled Them With-- CA-22 Mea Culpa


Ricardo Franco (D)

You may recall that a few days ago we looked at the race for the Democratic nomination for the Central Valley district (CA-22) occupied by increasingly despised Trump crony Devin Nunes. The DCCC has never contested this district before. At the time, we promised to get you more information about the two most recent candidates, Ricardo Franco and Bobby Bliatout. We're just starting discussions with the latter but we've been talking with Franco since then.

When I asked Franco if it is OK to campaign specifically on Medicare-for-All he responded-- too late for Sunday's post, that he's "been using the the phrases 'Universal Healthcare' and 'single-payer' system, but I think 'Medicare-for-all' is a much better phrase. I believe in it, it's a clear policy position to solve an important issue and I think voters are intelligent enough to know what it means. I'm going to start using it now!" He added that he's "not convinced that being a moderate in a district like mine will win swing voters, but rather being upfront and honest about your progressive values will show a genuineness that's attractive to moderate voters (I spoke with other voters over the weekend that said they would have voted for Bernie if it was him versus Trump!) You must also develop a plan. I believe voters are tired of talking points and want to see a concrete plan from candidates to spur discussion. No more wishy-washy statements generalized for broad appeal, but rather concrete plans of actions based upon your morals." So I asked him to pen a guest post for us. This is it:
I Voted For Hillary Over Bernie. I Was Wrong.
-by Ricardo Franco,
congressional candidate, CA-22

Back in November I cast my vote for Secretary Clinton with enthusiasm. She was the most experienced candidate in history. She would be the first female president. I had campaigned, donated and phone banked for her more than anyone else in my life. Love would surely Trump hate.

And then we lost.

It was inconceivable. I had gone to my parent's house so I could share Hillary's historic win with my family--  a day they thought they'd never live to see. We have hosted funeral receptions in their house that didn't feel as bad as that night. Somehow I muttered the words, "I was wrong."

In 2006 the house I had been living in at the time burnt down to the ground. I broke my foot and suffered burns jumping from a second story window. Eight hours later as I was getting discharged from the hospital with a cast on my foot I muttered to myself, "well, looks like I'm homeless."

Being wrong in 2016 felt worse than being homeless in 2006.

When reality bites, you have to admit you've been bitten. For me that meant admitting that Bernie could have beaten Trump, that moderate Democrats continue to lose swing territory elections and that all the polling experts know nothing about which they speak. It's time to stop listening to other people and listen to your neighbors and your gut.

I have met so many conservatives in my district that have told me they would have gladly voted for Bernie over Trump, but the Democratic party didn't give them that chance. "Bernie was a cool guy! I would have voted for him. Trump's an asshole, but there's no way I'd ever vote for Hillary," they tell me. Now, as a businessman, when clients and customers tell you exactly what they are willing to pay for I will tell you that you better listen. It's time for the Democratic party to do the same.

The more progressive platform that Senator Sanders is proposing is one that almost all Democrats would love to have enacted as well as being appealing to other non-traditionally Democratic voters. It's time we accept this bite from reality and find candidates that message it from the heart. Why have we not evolved as a party with the changing electorate and world around us? Why do we not discuss underemployment rather than unemployment? Why do we not emphasize the global  economy is going green whether we like it or not and economic success for America means understanding this trend? The electorate is not falling for any false tricks nor promises from career politicians or newcomers with no spine nor honesty. If you truly want Medicare-for-all, then say it.

I want Medicare-for-all!

Now, help me make it a reality!
The establishment favors a very conservative Republican-lite candidate, Andrew Janz, whose message in primarily, "I'm not Trump, I'm not Nunes." That's proven a bad gamble for the DCCC but it's who they are and what they are all about. Ricardo Franco isn't Trump or Nunes either, but he's offering a real alternative to their conservatism, while Janz says he'll be just like his hero, Jim Costa down the road.

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Trump-Supporting Crackpots In Indiana Are Destroying Each Other-- Can That Save Joe Donnelly's Senate Seat


Mess of Indiana conservatism

Before we get into the Indiana Senate race, there's some breaking news I want to share. Randy Bryce, the progressive Democrat and iron worker running for the southeast Wisconsin congressional seat occupied by Paul Ryan just moments ago issued a statementcalling on Ryan to initiate censure proceedings in the House against Trump for his divisive 'both sides' comments. "There is no moral equivalence between the repugnant peddlers of hate and violence, and those who bravely stand up to them," said Bryce. "Yesterday President Trump used the presidential seal to give political cover to vile racist extremists. The forces of deadly bigotry will only be emboldened by Trump's comments. When former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke thanks you for your remarks-- as he did to the president yesterday-- you are on the wrong side of history, decency, and American values. These comments yesterday require more than statements of outrage.  They demand an official expression of denunciation from Congress, on the record for all the world to see, and made permanent for history. Speaker Ryan," he said, addressing his opponent directly, "it is time to put action to your words. Only you as the leader of the House can compel that body to move decisively. Demonstrate courage and leadership, not only rhetoric. Initiate censure proceedings now in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Trump for the chief executive's outrageous, unacceptable and un-Amercian remarks."

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Neither of them had to do this-- they each have a safe, comfy, congressional seat-for-life in red parts of Indiana-- but their rivalry is going to cost one of them-- perhaps both of them-- his career in politics. Todd Rokita was elected to Congress in 2010. The 4th congressional district west of Indianapolis has a PVI of R+11. Hillary didn't even hot a third of the vote last year in the district. This is one RED seat. And Luke Messer's 6th district, east of Indianapolis, is even redder. The PVI is R+12. It's Mike Pence's old House seat and Messer took over in 2012 when Pence became governor of Indiana. The district gave Trump a huge win, his biggest in the state-- 67.7% to 27.4%. Both are right-wing extremists and total Trump rubber stamps. Rokita's ifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is 6.10 and Messer's score is 2.62. Politico termed their primary for the Republican Party nomination to go up against vulnerable and unpopular Blue Dog Joe Donnelly the GOP's nastiest Senate primary. And it's personal. The two right-wing goof-balls went the same sub-par college, the all-males Wabash College in Crawfordsville. "The slugfest underway between Republican Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita in Indiana isn’t just for the right to compete for possibly the GOP’s best opportunity to seize a Senate seat from Democrats in next year’s midterms," wrote Maggie Severns and Kevin Robillard. "It’s a chance to finally settle the score between two ambitious pols who’ve been vying to outdo one another politically since they graduated from the same small college more than 25 years ago. Yes, this one is personal. Their campaign didn’t officially get underway until last week, but Messer, 48, has already accused Rokita of attacking his wife and 'spreading lies' about his record. Rokita, 47, has questioned his rival’s mental health, calling Messer 'unhinged' and a 'ticking time bomb.'"

Indiana is Trump country-- he beat Hillary 1,557,286 (56.8%) to 1,033,126 (37.9%)-- and Donnelly is disliked by significant numbers of Democrats for his right-of-center approach. He's the GOP's easiest target for 2018. Donnelly only won in 2012 because he was up against a certifiably insane person, Richard Mourdock, who kept destroying his own chances-- and even then, Donnelly would have lost if not for Libertarian Andrew Horning winning 145,282 votes (5.7%), Donnelly's margin of victory. He took 1,281,181 votes (50.0%) to Murdock's 1,133,621 (44.3%).

Over the years, Messer has enjoyed the full embrace of Indiana’s political elite, which appointed him to a seat in the state Legislature and embraced him as part of its leadership. That same elite has always kept Rokita at bay.

Rokita became one of the nation’s youngest statewide elected officials when he was elected Indiana’s secretary of state at age 31. But he made enemies among Republicans in the state Legislature, which years later redrew Rokita’s congressional district in a way that put his home on the wrong side of the new boundary. Many of Indiana’s most prominent political leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence’s brother Greg, have lined up behind Messer. And when Rokita put his name forward for governor last year when Pence became Trump’s vice presidential nominee, the state Republican central committee instead went with now-Gov. Eric Holcomb, a former party chairman.

“Todd has a sense that ‘Messer gets all the breaks and I don’t,’” said one GOP operative. “Now they’re placed in a zero-sum game, and their underlying feelings come out.”

Those feelings reached a boiling point in May and have not calmed since. Messer had been considering a challenge to Donnelly since at least last summer, according to allies, and at first, Rokita waited quietly in the wings. But early this year, Rokita started raising money and meeting with Republican leaders in Washington. Then, a May Associated Press story revealed that Messer’s wife, a lawyer, was being paid a $240,000-a-year consulting fee from a small Indiana town.

The attack struck a particular nerve with Messer, who thought it was prompted by Rokita, according to two people familiar with his thinking. And he didn’t hold back.

"Frankly, I've known Todd a long time and very little surprises me," Messer told a local TV station. "But I would say it's not typical that someone starts a campaign by coming after someone's spouse.”

Rokita kept needling Messer in public, about that story and for relocating his family to Virginia. Messer distributed a lengthy email accusing Rokita of “spreading lies and half-truths,” which Rokita’s campaign responded to by calling Messer “unhinged” and a “ticking time bomb.” Soon, as both candidates lashed out at each other in the press, a dozen edits appeared on Messer’s Wikipedia page echoing one of Rokita’s main lines of attack on Messer: his work as a lobbyist.

...[M]any of the men who helped Rokita defeat a slew of other prominent Republicans in the primary have since abandoned him and are backing Messer for Senate, including his campaign manager Tom John and Grand. Rokita has gone on to earn a reputation as an exacting boss, prone to calling staff late at night.

“Todd has been more of a squeaky wheel than Luke,” said Dan Dumezich, chairman of Rokita’s finance committee. “Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and sometimes the squeaky wheel just irritates people.”

Rokita and Messer declined to comment for this story.

Rokita ran particularly afoul of the state Legislature-- where Messer had quickly risen up the ranks during a stint several years earlier-- in 2009, as lawmakers began preparing for the once-in-a-decade redistricting process. Then in his second term as secretary of state, Rokita proposed making it a felony for lawmakers to consider politics when drawing political boundaries. He toured the state promoting his idea and drew up sample maps with new boundaries.

The Legislature bristled at Rokita’s suggestion, which would have given his office new power and disrupted lawmakers’ safe seats. The state Senate president-- a fellow Republican-- said Rokita had “crossed the line.”

Two years later, lawmakers gave Rokita his due: The Legislature drew Rokita, who by then was serving his first term in Congress, out of his district. His home sat just 500 yards from the line-- a slight that lawmakers called coincidental and Rokita publicly labeled as “comeuppance.” (Rokita would later move into his new district.)

Messer had a very different experience in the Legislature: He was appointed to a state House seat in May 2003, and by 2005 was serving in the chamber’s leadership. After a Time magazine story spotlighted Indiana as a center of the high school dropout crisis, Messer embraced school reform and found support from Gov. Mitch Daniels, as well as Indiana’s elite donors.

Rokita eyed running for Senate in 2010, but opted instead to run for the House. He arrived on Capitol Hill in 2011 and within months found himself at the center of a national clash after he joined other newly elected conservatives in refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling, enraging House leaders. Messer ran for Congress in 2010 unsuccessfully, but succeeded two years later on his third try. The Wabash grads then found themselves rubbing elbows-- and at times, throwing them-- on Capitol Hill.

Messer again rose up the ranks fast: Within two years he was elected as chair of the House Republican Policy Committee. And he again embraced education by leading a school choice caucus, hosting rallies attended by John Boehner and Eric Cantor that featured Messer as the smiling emcee.

While Rokita appears endlessly willing to take on unpopular-- but important-- fights, Messer has been quick to build coalitions and quickly rose to leadership positions in both the state House and in Congress.

But Messer’s skill at listening to people and building coalitions can have downsides as well, a GOP strategist warned. “Luke’s personality is to try to placate both sides. You may not ultimately satisfy anybody,” he said.

And Rokita, who led an education subcommittee, jockeyed with Messer for prominence on their key issue. In 2015, he was working diligently on a major education bill when Messer nearly unraveled a year’s work. Messer made a stand in favor of adopting school vouchers, a controversial issue that jeopardized the bill; Rokita fumed to colleagues until Messer backed down.

Today, both men are fuming in public as they launch their campaigns. Both say they’re focused on running campaigns that can eventually defeat Donnelly-- but they frequently fall back into a now-familiar habit, nipping at each other instead of their Democratic foe.

But there’s also an upshot for people like Grand, the Indiana lobbyist, who happens to share an alma mater with the two Indiana congressmen.

“Either way,” Grand said, “Wabash College wins.”
The most recent poll by right-wing polling firm, GS Strategy, shows Rokita leading significantly. It's going to take a really gi-mormous anti-Trump/anti-McConnell/anti-Ryan tsunami for the Democrats to hold Donnelly's seat. Having strong Democratic candidates down-ballot-- like Dan Canon in the 9th district, for example-- will, ironically, help turnout for Republican-lite Donnelly.

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