Saturday, June 2, 2018

"the Sword of Damocles"

The GOP’s House Intelligence Committee report reads like a poorly composed crime fiction.

While it confirms Russian meddling in our elections, it also denies collusion by the Trump campaign (despite the growing body of evidence). (Encrypted back-channel?)

It is a purely political piece written by Republican members of Congress who fear losing the midterm election.

A well established corollary exists: The lower a president’s job approval, the more seats his party will lose in Congress.

When Democrats won their majority in the 2006 midterm, President Bush’s approval was 38 percent. When they lost it in the 2010 midterm, President Obama’s approval was just 45 percent. President Trump’s is consistently under 40 percent in.

What happens down ballot? Energy.

Energy in midterm elections determines borderline seats won and lost. An unpopular president provides a wake up call for voters in the opposite party.

In competitive districts that decide whether a party will hold a majority or minority in Congress, moderate members have to balance between their own party base and crossover voters. They can’t win with just one group - like Trumpians.

That’s the big problem for House Republicans in this midterm.

It explains the partisan report from the House Intelligence Committee. Republicans may privately grimace at Trump’s tweets, careening foreign policy, daily distractedness, and evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 election but they keep these cards close to their chest (money chest, that is).

Publicly the GOP has no choice other than to appear to support him.

But, they have to persuade swing voters to swing in the GOP direction or stay home on Election Day. The problem hangs over a current total of 62 competitive districts.

And, so, introduce the cognitive disconnect. "Alternate facts."

The GOP must disregard certain facts (maybe even calling them false) and buttress certain myths as alternate facts as seen before by anyone who’s watched the Netflix adaptation of “Lost In Space”

The problem is that our democracy shouldn’t be fictionalized for a specific audience (or cult) for political gain.

We deserve better, which is why I’ll wait for the sequel, written by an independent investigator named Robert Mueller.

(after an article by Steve Israel, who represented New York in Congress for 16 years.)

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