Christian Schneider/Bulwark:

Republicans Need a “Witch Hunt.” Even If They Have to Manufacture One.

In any normal judicial proceeding, the facts of the case would drive the process. But just as Democrats did in 1998, Republicans are now trying to use the process to create a narrative: that Democrats are running a partisan “witch hunt” to burn their cherubic and innocent president at the stake.

Given the overwhelming evidence that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in an attempt to extort political dirt on Joe Biden, it is unbelievable that even a few conscientious Republicans wouldn’t wander off the reservation to back a formal inquiry, at least, even if they couldn’t go the full-hog on voting for articles of impeachment. But without the facts on its side, the GOP seems to have realized that its only play is to scramble the process in an attempt to create a fact they can lean on.

And pitching the impeachment inquiry as a strictly partisan endeavor is a manufactured fact Republicans think might work.

Which explains why conservative dissenters are treated as heretics: if even one or two Republicans were to stray and criticize the president, the façade would crack and the witch hunt narrative would begin to melt. Any Republican who dares question the legality of a president withholding aid to a foreign government in exchange for domestic campaign help will find themselves standing in front of Trump’s Twitter flamethrower. It’s the Republicans’ best argument and they can’t let independent thinkers like Pierre Delecto derail it.



Trump’s demands of Ukraine came down to three words: ‘Investigations, Biden and Clinton,’ official’s testimony states

Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, who oversaw Ukraine policy, told lawmakers that Trump demanded that the country’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announce investigations into the 2016 U.S. election, Trump’s former rival Hillary Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden, a possible 2020 challenger, in exchange for an Oval Office meeting.

Trump “wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to a microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton,” Kent told House impeachment investigators.

This week, transcripts. Next week, in public. And they know it. 


Ron Brownstein/Atlantic:

The Suburban Backlash Against the GOP Is Growing

Donald Trump’s strategy of revving up his rural base may not be worth the cost.

“When Trump was elected, there was an initial rejection of him in the suburbs,” says Jesse Ferguson, a Virginia-based Democratic strategist. “We are now seeing a full-on realignment.”

In that way, the GOP’s losses again raised the stakes for Republicans heading into 2020. In both message and agenda, Trump has reoriented the Republican Party toward the priorities and grievances of non-college-educated, evangelical, and nonurban white voters. His campaign has already signaled that it will focus its 2020 efforts primarily on turning out more working-class and rural white voters who did not participate in 2016.

Josh Kraushaar/National Journal:

Democrats Rocking the Suburbs

If Republicans can’t cut their losses, their outlook for 2020 becomes grim.

Finally, Trump’s own reelection chances rely on cutting down his losing margins in suburban America. In 2016, Trump showed it’s possible to win a healthy Electoral College majority while underperforming in suburban battlegrounds. But last year’s midterm results and subsequent polls have shown Trump losing even more ground in these areas—to the point where he’d need historic turnout from his working-class base to make up the deficit.

Trump is likely past the point where he can recover his support in the suburbs. But there’s one silver lining for Republicans. A New York Times/Siena poll conducted in the six biggest battleground states found that 6 percent of registered voters would support Joe Biden over Trump, but not Warren. “The Biden voters who say Ms. Warren is too far to the left are relatively well educated and disproportionately reside in precincts that flipped from Mitt Romney in 2012 to Mrs. Clinton four years later,” the paper reports.

Warren winning the Democratic nomination would be the biggest lifeline that Trump and down ballot Republicans could receive for next year’s election. The president’s struggles in the suburbs will make it awfully difficult for him to win a second term. But he’ll have a fighting chance if Democrats turn to a candidate who would threaten to jeopardize some of the party’s critical suburban gains.



How A Gang Of Angry Teachers Beat Kentucky’s Donald Trump

Frustrated educators “always believed we could shock the world” by ousting Gov. Matt Bevin. But “it was still kind of shocking when we did it.”

And when Beshear, whom statewide Democrats have hailed for running one of the most organized campaigns in Kentucky history, needed an army of volunteers to help turn out the vote, the teachers were there. Nearly 1,000 educators volunteered for Beshear’s campaign, Patterson said.

Beshear and the state party knocked on more than 1 million doors during the campaign, and ran a get-out-the-vote operation that helped turn out voters in deep blue areas of the state, like Lexington and Louisville, and in rural counties. The teachers, meanwhile, staged election events in nearly all of the state’s 120 counties, Patterson said, and ran their own canvassing efforts.

“We knocked on so many doors, Brewer said. “We had people who’d been out for months knocking on doors. We sent text messages. We made phone calls to friends and family. We had days of action. I’ve never seen so much engagement from people who’d never done it before.”


NY Times:

The G.O.P.’s Election Day Problem in the Suburbs Is Getting Worse

In Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, many voters in historically Republican suburbs supported Democratic candidates, in part because of antipathy toward President Trump.

“Our coalition is growing and is more secure,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, before quickly adding that Democrats cannot take their new voters for granted. “You have to earn it,” said Ms. Raimondo, counseling her party’s candidates to avoid ideological purity tests and instead focus on conveying to voters “that we’re going to do a better job making their lives easier.”

But she couldn’t help noting one factor behind the party’s good fortune. “Even some Republicans are just done with President Trump,” she said.


Michael J Stern/USA Today:

Trump impeachment intimidation: Weaponized Twitter feed, die-hard fans who get the "code"

We have to accept that part of Trump’s base is "deplorable." No breach of ethics, crime or act of moral depravity will shake their blind support.

This spring, Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified in a House hearing that Trump uses “code,” like a mob boss, when he orders people to do things of questionable ethical or legal propriety.

Trump’s code language is understood by his closest followers, and it is what sends shivers down the spines of witnesses cooperating in the impeachment probe. Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told House investigators she felt threatened when Trump referred to her as “bad news” in a publicly released summary of the Ukraine call. Yovanovitch also testified that she worried her job and pension were at risk by not toeing the Trump line.

The danger in threats posed by Trump and his base is that witnesses called to testify will not be candid because they fear repercussions, or will not appear at all. And witnesses who have not tripped the public radar have little reason to voluntarily come forward and go through the agony that comes with having the president of the United States publicly trash them to his 67 million Twitter followers, some of whom may target them for revenge.


And this one from the Guardian:

Secret chats involving Republican lawmaker reveal fresh evidence of plots and paranoia

Messages from network involving Matt Shea provide insight into ‘patriot movement’ – and the extent of their conspiracy thinking

Leaked Signal messages from an online chat network around six-term Washington state Republican representative Matt Shea show new evidence of violent fantasies, surveillance of perceived adversaries, conspiracy thinking, Islamophobia, and support for white nationalists.

The messages from the chat group, exchanged between October 2017 and October 2018, show Shea’s network includes other serving, former and aspiring rightwing politicians from Idaho and Washington, alongside activists associated with militia groups, anti-environmental causes, and pro-gun activism.

They also show participants, including Shea, preparing for economic and societal collapse even as they campaign for the secession of eastern Washington from the remainder of the state.

The messages provide a rare insight into the inner workings – and paranoia – of the so-called patriot movement, whose members have participated in standoffs with the federal government in Nevada and Oregon, and whose far-right beliefs have been controversially promoted by Shea.

That’s …. not who Democratic persuasion or GOTV is aimed at.


Full article