Browsing the archives for the Republican Party category.


What’s Happening Now

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Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

Charles Pierce reports on a RICO suit filed against Michigan governor Rick Snyder. The suit takes Snyder at his word that he is “running Michigan like a business” and accuses him of racketeering in Flint. In particular, the suit says, he committed fraud by charging the people for the contaminated water they were receiving, representing it as safe to drink.

Ted Cruz, who criticized Donald Trump by saying he has “New York values,” is so not welcome in New York.

Bernie Sanders has been invited to speak at the Vatican. “The April 15th event, which will be hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, is scheduled to cover a number of the Democratic presidential hopeful’s signature campaign issues, including income inequality and the environment.”

Note that the New York primary is April 19. He is scheduled to debate Hillary Clinton on April 14 — he’ll have to get on the red eye right after, I bet. There’s a big rally in Washington Square April 13. He’s a busy guy.

Speaking of which, there’s a Sanders rally near me today, and I plan to take a bus there and try to get in. I’ll let you know if anything fun happens.

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The Candidates Respond to Brussels

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Bad Hair, Obama Administration, Sanders and Clinton, Terrorism

july4whitebackgroundAs a public service, I’ve put together a quickie primer on how the five remaining presidential candidates responded to the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Let’s start with the Republicans.

First off, let us acknowledge that Republicans are weenies. Charles Pierce reminds us that all three Republican candidates wet their pants over the Ebola terror, for example. After the attacks in Brussels, Kasich and Cruz nonsensically called for President Obama to cut the state visit to Cuba off short and fly to Brussels, as if he had any business there and wouldn’t just create more security problems. One suspects there are telephones in Cuba and that the President has communicated with European leaders as needed.

Otherwise, regarding Brussels, Kasich has been the soul of moderation compared to Trump or Kruz. In fact, I found no substantive difference between Kasich and Hillary Clinton on this issue. I’ll come back to this in a bit.

Trump and Cruz, of course, both went into crazy overdrive. Trump continues to believe that Islamic terrorists (like the Ebola virus) are swarming across the U.S. Mexican border, and that the first order of business must be closing that border, along with banning Muslims from entering the country anywhere. He also promises to do lots of waterboarding and has not ruled out using nuclear weapons on ISIS (which Juan Cole tells us we should be calling “Daesh”).

But who knows what Trump would do? Here’s a snip of a recent interview with the Washington Post, courtesy of Mother Jones:

RYAN: You [MUFFLED] mentioned a few minutes earlier here that you would knock ISIS. You’ve mentioned it many times. You’ve also mentioned the risk of putting American troop in a danger area. If you could substantially reduce the risk of harm to ground troops, would you use a battlefield nuclear weapon to take out ISIS?

TRUMP: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…

RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?

[CROSSTALK]

TRUMP: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?

The word deranged does come to mind.

Ted Cruz famously promised to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Like treating innocent people like criminals wouldn’t radicalize them. Like Trump, Cruz thinks the southern border must be closed to prevent Muslim terrorists and their Ebola virus allies from entering the country, because obviously there is no other way for them to get in other than to sneak across the Rio Grande. It’s not like we have other borders or international airports or anything.

He also declared that “for years, the West has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear.” It is an article of faith on the Right that President Obama refuses to acknowledge that Daesh and other radical jihadist groups even exist. But, of course, the Right is wrong. (See also.) Wingnuts think that fear itself has power and that hysterical rhetoric and ignorance make one stronger, which is why they don’t know what to do with President Barack “the Ice Man” Obama. And which is why their approach to terrorism would be a disaster for the entire planet.

Here is Cruz’s statement, in full:

“For years, the west has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods. We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here. We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized. We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we can be are at an end. Our country is at stake.”

In short, booga booga booga.

Both Clinton and Kasich emphasized strengthening alliances and working with strategic partners to root out terrorism. Kasich (who, notably, did not mention Islam):

“Along with every American, I am sickened by the pictures of the carnage, by the injuries and by the loss of life,” said Kasich in a statement sent to reporters. “The wave of terror that has been unleashed in Europe and elsewhere around the world are attacks against our very way of life and against the democratic values upon which our political systems have been built. We and our allies must rededicate ourselves to these values of freedom and human rights. We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror. We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil. We must strengthen our alliances as our way of life and the international system that has been built on our common values since the end of the Second World War comes under challenge from these and other actors of evil.”

Clinton:

Former Sec. of State Clinton said in a statement, “Terrorists have once again struck at the heart of Europe, but their campaign of hate and fear will not succeed. The people of Brussels, of Europe, and of the world will not be intimidated by these vicious killers. Today Americans stand in solidarity with our European allies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded, and all the people of Belgium. These terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life, but they will never succeed. Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”

However, here is where Clinton fell short, and where I would have wanted a more substantive answer. On the Today Show, she was asked explicitly what she might do about the “root causes” of terrorism.

Clinton responded that we need to tighten our security, bringing up a “visa system and passenger record system” she advocated as secretary of state. She also said Europe needs to fall in line behind the US in adopting our surveillance measures:

“When I was secretary, we often had some difficulty with our European friends because they were reluctant to impose the kind of strict standards we were looking for. After Paris, that has changed, and we need to do more to tighten things up.”

She did not address any of the actual root causes of terrorism.

I believe President Obama would have had a better answer.  This blind spot in Clinton is  worrisome, especially considering her record as a “regime change” hawk.
Finally, we come to Bernie Sanders:

We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.

Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue. (see also)

He went further talking to Jimmy Kimmel (because news media ignore him):
‘”I think people get afraid, and for good reasons. ISIS is a disgusting, barbaric organization. We’ve seen what they’ve done in Paris, what they’ve done in Brussels. People are afraid of an attack in the United States. But I think what we have to understand is we’re not going to undermine the Constitution of the United States of America in order to effectively destroy ISIS. At the end of the day, we cannot allow the Trumps of the world to use these incidents to attack all of the Muslim people in the world. That is unfair. To imply that if somebody is a Muslim they’re a terrorist, that is an outrageous statement.”
Sanders generated a lot of derision when he linked terrorism and climate change awhile back, but lots of experts say it’s a serious contributing factor. Drought in Syria has a lot to do with migration into Europe and elsewhere.
Like Clinton and Kasich, he has emphasized international cooperation regarding security. I believe he has gone further than Clinton or Kasich in declaring that the United States isn’t the world’s police and that other nations, especially those in the Middle East, need to step up. He also has pledged to not use military force except as a last resort.
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Oh, Wait …

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Bad Hair, Sanders and Clinton

Yesterday’s upset in Michigan has the FiveThirtyEight crew reeling. The polls said that Hillary Clinton would take Michigan by at least 20 percentage points, if not 30. But she lost. The algorithm gods were wrong.  I dare say Nate Silver and crew have never been off by that much. “Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history,” said one.

And I must say I was surprised, too. During the two Michigan pre-primary debates/town halls/whatever, Hillary Clinton had attempted the Karl Rovian trick of saying  Sanders had voted against the auto bailout bill, leaving out the part about it being part of the TARP bill. Clinton did carry Flint and Detroit, but, glory be, the rest of electorate didn’t fall for it.

It’s possible Michigan was a fluke. It’s also possible that what happened in Michigan could happen in Ohio and Illinois next week. If the Dem establishment were smart — and I don’t think they are that smart, frankly — they would be paying attention to what Sanders supporters want, and taking it seriously.

I like what D.D. Guttenplan wrote in The Nation:

…what Michigan shows is that Bernie’s voters are every bit as important to a Democratic victory as Hillary’s. Especially if, as the Michigan results also suggest, those voters include an increasing number of African-American voters. Perhaps instead of telling Sanders voters to “get in line” behind the inevitable nominee, Clinton supporters should tell their candidate to stop telling lies.

We’ve all read thousands of words about how Bernie needs to respect Hillary, and how the Bernie Bros need to lay off Hillary supporters (much of which I agree with). And as the veteran broadcaster Salim Muwakkil pointed out recently on Facebook, Sanders needs to keep listening and learning to correct his racial blindspots—“and his supporters must not rush to keep [those] blinders intact.”

But we also need to say clearly that the Hillary supporters need to stop denigrating Bernie as a racist or sexist when he clearly isn’t, stop condescending to his supporters for wanting fundamental, rather than cosmetic, change to our rigged economy and corrupt politics, and stop using the kind of underhanded, Nixonian tactics that seem designed to keep Sanders voters home in November.

Meanwhile, as Sanders pulled off what was arguably a historic upset, the cable news networks were glued to Donald Trump’s utterly surreal victory speech. In a way I don’t blame them; it was so bizarre it was hard to not watch. Here’s just a bit:

And Mitt got up — and he really shouldn’t have done it, it wasn’t becoming, honestly — and he talked about the water company. Well, there’s…

Trump steaks — where are the steaks? Do we have steaks? We have Trump steaks. He said the steak company, and we have Trump steaks. And by the way,…

We have Trump Magazine. Let me see the magazine. He said Trump Magazine is out. I said, it is? I thought I read one two days ago. This comes out and it’s called The Jewel of Palm Beach and we…

So — and the airline, by the way, I sold the airline. You know, he said Trump Airline. Well, I sold the airline and I actually made a great deal,…

And by the way, Trump University, it’s — we’re holding it. When I win the lawsuit, which I’ll win, the — they did an ad — Rubio did an ad…

And I’m — I just want to explain. I — and the United States should be this — I don’t settle lawsuits, very rare, because once you settle lawsuits,…

So when I saw the different things — and by the way, the winery, you see the wine, because he mentioned Trump vodka, it’s the largest winery on the…

And so I just want to — so I want to put that to rest. So you have the water, you have the steaks, you have the airline that I sold. I mean, what’s…

That’s copied directly from the CSPAN transcript. He went on like that for nearly an hour.

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How to Kill a State

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Republican Party

There’s a devastating article in the Washington Post about how falling oil prices and Bobby Jindal’s policies have pretty much destroyed Louisiana.

The math is daunting: For the fiscal year that ends June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-2017, which begins July 1, the gap is $2 billion.

“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal and now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”

Of course, the shit is hitting the fan just as a Democratic governor is taking office. Watch the Republican Party blame Louisiana’s pain on John Bel Edwards. And then they’ll persuade voters that the way back to prosperity is to run the state the way Bobby Jindal ran it. They might not use his name, but it’ll be the same Ponzi scheme.

And then there’s Chris Christie.

What Christie did when he endorsed the brashly divisive billionaire is between him and his conscience. How he got there is the more interesting question.

When this whole process started eons ago, many experts predicted that voters who found President Obama’s experience lacking would find executive records appealing. And indeed, the field filled with governors, not just Christie but Florida’s Jeb Bush, Texas’ Rick Perry, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and of course, Louisiana’s own Bobby Jindal.

Turns out governing experience what not what most primary voters wanted. 

…There are many reasons this is so, but one could be how these governors have behaved in office. Rather than show the world what they could do by running a state well, Jindal and Christie in particular tailored their policies and priorities to sell on the national stage.

And both paid the price back home. Jindal left office in January with stunningly low approval numbers, and anger over his fiscal irresponsibility is about the only thing Republicans and Democrats in Baton Rouge have in common. Christie too is deeply unpopular in his own state. After he shocked the world by signing on as a Trump surrogate, six New Jersey newspapers published a joint editorial calling him to resign.

“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” the papers wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”

I don’t think we yet know how much damage Christie did to New Jersey, although NJ’s proximity to New York City tends to buffer it from total ruin.

Perhaps Jeb Bush didn’t destroy Florida, but Jeb wasn’t quite as “conservative” as his successor Rick Scott.  From what I can see from here, Scott and Rick Perry of Texas are very much alike. They can both pull all kinds of statistics out of their butts to show how their policies helped their states, but when the dust settles somehow low- and middle-income people are still getting poorer and poorer.

And what can one say about Scott Walker, except … damn, what a maroon. See Scott Walker destroyed his state’s economy and A closer look at Wisconsin’s economy under Gov. Scott Walker, which begins,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is looking for a new job but, unfortunately, so are too many of his constituents.

At least Sam Brownback, who destroyed Kansas; and Rick Snyder of Flint, Michigan lead poisoning fame are not running for President.

And now we get to John Kasich, the allegedly “centrist” Republican still running for President. You can find a lot of puff pieces about the wonderful things Kasich has done for Ohio, but others are not so sure. Ohio has mirrored the national recovery rate; Kasich takes credit. However, for 32 consecutive months, the state has trailed the national average for monthly job growth, says an article published in August 2015. About the best thing one can say about Kasich’s Ohio is that it doesn’t seem to be as bad off as Kansas. Or Louisiana. Or Wisconsin …

In short, if you really want to destroy your state’s economy, elect a Republican governor. That’ll do the job.

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My Advice to the GOP Establishment Regarding Donald Trump

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Bad Hair, Democratic Party, Mittens, Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

Hoo boy, this is rich:

Mitt Romney and John McCain Denounce Donald Trump as a Danger to Democracy

Yeah, I’m sure the baggers supporting Trump will see this and say, “Really? Gosh, I didn’t know, but if Senator McCain and Governor Romney say so, it must be true!”

Snort. Baggers hate McCain, and I assume they don’t have a lot of use for Romney, either.

Oh, wait; I just did a quickie tour of some right-wing blogs. Reactions to Romney’s speech today denouncing Trump ran the gamut from derision to more derision.  However, one fellow pointed out that the GOP candidates are debating in Michigan tonight. Romney’s father was a governor of Michigan and remembered fondly, I understand, even if there is less love lost for Mittens. This might have an impact in the upcoming Michigan primary.

From Matt Yglesias at Vox:

And Romney isn’t alone. A bevy of prominent Republican foreign policy hands — most though by no means all hardcore neoconservatives — signed a letter today in which they slammed Trump’s honesty, his trade policies, his commitment to torture, and his views on Russia while stating plainly that “as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head.”

I agree with Steve M that the Establishment hopes that Trump will still be short of delegates needed for the nomination at convention time, and then of course no one would mind if the convention ignores the will of voters and settles on someone else.  Right? All those Republican primary voters will just fall in line behind anyone the GOP chooses, right?

Actually, they might. The headline of Yglesias’s column is “Trump needs to unify the GOP to win in November. This week suggested he can’t.” No, he probably can’t. But there is someone who can.

Hillary Clinton.

The baggers would trip all over themselves rushing to the polls to vote for the Devil himself to prevent Hillary Clinton from being President. She could prove to be the Great Uniter of the Republican Party.

There you go, GOP establishment. Go ahead and broker your rigged convention, and give the nomination to whomever you please. Then make sure Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.  Problem solved.

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The Fruit Salad of Their Minds

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Bad Hair, Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

They had a tenth Republican debate last night. Only the tenth? I would have sworn there’d been a couple of dozen by now. There seems to be a consensus in the media that Rubio “won,” but I cannot discern why the bobbleheads think that. He certainly impressed Juan Cole — with his robust display of derp. Professor Cole tells us that Rubio has become Sheldon Adelson’s sock puppet.

I did find a highlight film showing Rubio going after Trump fairly aggressively. Maybe that’s what impressed the pundits.

More videos here, if you want to watch them.

Best comment I’ve seen so far is from John Cole: “You know how sometimes in a city you see someone disheveled and crazy looking walking along talking to themselves? I think Ben Carson is having the other half of the conversation with them.”

Carson also inspired the title of this post. When asked about how he would choose Supreme Court nominees, he said, “The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.”

Someone has calculated that Donald Trump has a 90 percent chance of winning the GOP nomination.

March is still promising to be a rough month for Sanders supporters. I already wrote that if he’s still in the race by the end of March he’s got a shot at the nomination. But that’s a big if. He’s likely going to be slaughtered in South Carolina tomorrow.  Super Tuesday is not looking good. The most recent polls have Clinton winning everything except Vermont. Massachusetts remains close, though.

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The Crumbiness of Toast!

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The Smarter Brother

Speaking of being out of touch with the times, consider the politician formerly known as “the smarter brother” until he embarked on a national political campaign and we all realized he isn’t.  In truth, Toast! is in some ways a more pathetic doofus than Dubya, if that’s possible. Just goes to show how nepotism and cronyism can carry one way beyond his level of competence.  #Jeb!

Anyway, Toast! dropped some jaws yesterday when he praised Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for his handling of the Flint water crisis.

I’ll pause a moment to let that sink in.

Toast! blamed the crisis on too much government regulation, and then praised Snyder for stepping up to solve the problem. Seriously; he did that. I’m not sure even the rubes will buy that one.

A few days ago the Toast! campaign — no, he actually hasn’t dropped out yet — released his education platform. It includes lots of “school choice” rhetoric and stuff about “expanding charter schools.”

Although charter schools still have a lot of supporters, my sense is that the once soaring idea is quickly becoming a lead balloon. It’s like privatizing Social Security; the more people look at it, the less popular it gets.  And it opens Bush up to additional scrutiny about his absolutely awful charter school failures in Florida. See, for example,

The Big Jeb Bush Charter School Lie

Florida’s big charter school problem (which Jeb Bush manages not to talk about)

Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé

Testing Time: Jeb Bush’s Educational Experiment

That last article proposes that Toast!’s charter school initiative was supposed to be his answer to Dubya’s “no child left behind” program. We might also remember that one of Dubya’s claims in 2000 was the story of the “Texas miracle,” and how his reforms had so improved Texas schools. And then we found out the “miracle” was based on phony numbers. But that didn’t become public knowledge until after Dubya was selected. Toast!’s claims are already thoroughly debunked.

Not that it matters, since nobody is paying any attention to Toast! any more.

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The Cruzes of Canada

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Republican Party

With a big, honking caveat that this could be a bureaucratic mistake, there is reason to question Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency.  If it turns out that his mother was a Canadian and not a U.S. citizen when he was born, then Cruz is, well, crust. Josh Marshall explains.

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Taxes and 2016: Some Choices

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Obama Administration, Republican Party, Taxes

Although this won’t surprise most of you, do read the in-depth feature in the New York Times about how the mega-wealthy avoid paying taxes.

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means. …

…Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions, and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.

These several thousand Americans making use of the private tax system are mostly supporters of Republicans, and donors within this group are behind most of the money going into conservative Super-PACs. A very small number of them are Democratic Party donors, however.

In the heat of the presidential race, the influence of wealthy donors is being tested. At stake are the Obama administration’s limited 2013 tax increase on high earners — the first in two decades — and an I.R.S. initiative to ensure that, in effect, the higher rate sticks by cracking down on tax avoidance by the wealthy.

While Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have pledged to raise taxes on these voters, virtually every Republican has advanced policies that would vastly reduce their tax bills, sometimes to as little as 10 percent of their income.

At the same time, most Republican candidates favor eliminating the inheritance tax, a move that would allow the new rich, and the old, to bequeath their fortunes intact, solidifying the wealth gap far into the future. And several have proposed a substantial reduction — or even elimination — in the already deeply discounted tax rates on investment gains, a foundation of the most lucrative tax strategies.

The article goes on to say that the wealthy are not so much buying politicians as they are buying policy. The “income defense industry” has been able to lower their tax bills from roughly 27 percent to less than 17 percent over the past 25 or so years. The industry has also managed to hobble the IRS from going after them, even as the Obama Administration has made closing loopholes a priority.

Again, although there are Democrats who have gone along with this, for the most part it’s the Republican Party that supports it.

While you are at the New York Times, be sure to read “$250,000 a Year Is Not Middle Class” by Bryce Covert. Hillary Clinton has pledged not to raise taxes on the “middle class,” which she is defining as anyone who makes $250,000 or less. Covert argues that those who make $206,568 or more are in the top 5 percent of earners; they are not “middle class.” Further, this pledge will prevent a Clinton Administration from being able to fund programs that really would help the actual middle class, such as paid family leave.

Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley both support a policy program that would provide paid family leave as a kind of social insurance, and this would be funded by a 0.2 percent payroll tax increase across the board. I’m seeing Hillary supporters gleefully pounce on this, saying Bernie would raise middle-class taxes and Hillary won’t. But it isn’t quite that simple, as Sanders also has pledged to leave all other taxes on people making $250,000 or less alone. Covert writes,

Mr. Obama, who also made a pledge not to raise middle-class taxes, has seen how limiting it can be. Early last year, he made an effort to levy some taxes on 529 college savings accounts, given that 70 percent of account balances in those and similar accounts are owned by families who make more than $200,000. The revenue from the tax would have been plowed into college subsidies that would reach low- and middle-income Americans.

It was a doomed idea. Some families with closer to median income do use 529 accounts. So adding a tax would, technically, increase some middle-class people’s burden, thus violating Mr. Obama’s promise. Backlash erupted not just from Republicans, but fellow Democrats, and he dropped the idea less than a week after floating it.

IMO this plays into the Republican talking point book about taxes, which says that taxes are an oppressive and horrible drain on the pockets of America, while expecting Americans to spend even more money to pay for things that a tax-funded program could provide cheaply is not.  (See also: health care.) It’s why we can’t have nice things. And it’s a notion supported by the income defense industry.

Also, too: Goats

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Republicans in Disarray

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Republican Party

Jeff Greenfield speculates that a Trump nomination would cause the Republican establishment to run a third-party candidate.

With Trump as its standard-bearer, the GOP would suddenly be asked to rally around a candidate who has been called by his once and former primary foes “a cancer on conservatism,” “unhinged,” “a drunk driver … helping the enemy.” A prominent conservative national security expert, Max Boot, has flatly labeled him “a fascist.” And the rhetoric is even stronger in private conversations I’ve had recently with Republicans of moderate and conservative stripes.

This is not the usual rhetoric of intraparty battles, the kind of thing that gets resolved in handshakes under the convention banners. These are stake-in-the-ground positions, strongly suggesting that a Trump nomination would create a fissure within the party as deep and indivisible as any in American political history, driven both by ideology and by questions of personal character.

Indeed, it would be a fissure so deep that, if the operatives I talked with are right, Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run—from the Republicans themselves.

Greenfield goes on to describe other times when presidential nominees were abandoned by their parties and consider what the Republican establishment might do. The most likely scenario, IMO, is that the the establishment will try to ignore Trump and work their butts off for House and Senate candidates instead, stacking Congress so that a Democratic president could be kept in check. I don’t see them trying to run an alternative candidate.

 

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