Did the Senate’s Supreme Court obstruction win the election for Trump?

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much.  But maybe not.  It surely helped.  Very nice post from Seth Masket:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a risk when he declared last February that the Senate would not consider any appointment by President Barack Obama to replace the recently deceased Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. McConnell risked making himself and his party look intransigent and dangerously irresponsible, blinded by hatred of Obama to the point of disabling a branch of government. He risked making voters angry at his party during an election year.

The risk paid off. Near as I can tell, Republicans paid no electoral penalty for this maneuver…

But there was a larger game being played here. McConnell’s move made the Supreme Court seat an issue for the presidential election. It motivated conservatives to stay on board with the Republican presidential nominee no matter who it was…

The risk in nominating Trump, of course, was that he’d alienate half his party through his bombastic behavior, toxic utterances, and unreliable issue stances.

The Supreme Court vacancy changed all that. It informed key constituencies, particularly evangelical Christians, that there was far more on the ballot than Trump. The balance of the Court, particularly on such issues as abortion, was in play. Abandon the nominee, and Hillary Clinton gets to pick the next one, two, or three justices. Stand by the nominee, no matter how repellent, and you get to. [emphasis mine]

In the end, I was absolutely surprised (and far from alone in my surprise) that Republicans ended up being almost as loyal to Trump as they were to Romney.  Was this all about the Supreme Court– of course not?  But it was surely a meaningful part of the equation.  Damn does it suck that McConnell acting so unscrupulously paid off so bigly.

Burning down the house on the way out

What the hell is Pat McCrory doing?  When virtually all the votes are counted but for a few stray absentee and provisional ballots and you are losing by 6000-8000 votes (probably the higher number, but reports vary), you have lost.  Sure, Pat McCrory is legally allowed his request for a recount with the margin under 10,000 votes.  Fine.  He and his minions, however, sure don’t need to go around undermining confidence in elections and our democracy by making utterly baseless allegations about voter fraud.  Are there some ballots with irregularities and potential issues?  Sure.  You bet.  Millions of votes were cast; this is normal.  Yet, there is not one scintilla of evidence for any kind of systematic voter fraud.  Yet, we get this:

“Why is Roy Cooper so insistent on circumventing the electoral process and counting the votes of dead people and felons?,” Diaz said in an emailed response. “It may be because he needs those fraudulent votes to count in order to win. Instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly.”

Seriously?  What the hell.  Are there some people who early voted then died before election day?  Likely.  Throw their votes out.  Ummm, 8000 or so who voted for Cooper, I don’t think so.  Again, or any evidence whatsoever that there’s widespread intentional fraud in this regard?  Hell no.

This quote from McCrory’s strategist really killed me, too:

Chris LaCivita, McCrory’s campaign strategist and an ex-Marine, tweeted on Sunday night: “You never ever give up a fight until your out of ammunition.”

No, no, no!!  That’s not true.  You give up the fight when you have plenty of ammunition left for all sorts of reasons– to avoid civilian casualties, to avoid utterly needless losses of your own troops, to regroup and try again later, etc.  But, damnit, no, you don’t just fight no matter what.  There are consequences.  And the consequences in this case are confidence in elections and democracy.  Alas, it seems NC Republicans have been taking too many pages from Trump’s playbook.

And here’s the odious Dallas Woodhouse in a Politico article:

“Roy Cooper thinks he’s the Governor-elect of what? The voting dead? Roy Cooper should respect the process to ensure all legally cast ballots are counted before measuring the drapes,” said Dallas Woodhouse, the state’s Republican Party executive director, in a statement Monday. “Despite partisan lines, we want to make sure the man with the most votes wins this election, and it’s a shame that Roy Cooper doesn’t want the same.”

You want a legal recount?  Again, fine.  Though, really, are there any cases in modern times of a recount over-turning a 8000 vote margin?  I sure as hell doubt it.  (Just give up with dignity already), but that’s sure no reason to make this invidious insinuations about dead people voting.

Meanwhile, a Slate article yesterday suggesting that the NC Legislature could install McCrory after a “contested” election with no judicial check, seems to have drawn huge attention.  I talked to both NBC and CNN on the matter today.  Short version– not happening.  Why in the world would they even consider such an absurd political step (“beyond nuclear” as a wise follower of the legislature termed it to me), when they’ve got their damn supermajority? Exactly.   And, just checked, and pleasantly surprised to see my condemnation of McCrory’s irresponsible allegations made it into the NBC story:

“I say, not as a Democrat but as a political scientist, that it’s entirely appropriate to condemn McCrory’s actions,” Steve Greene, political science professor at NC State University, told NBC News. “This is not how we do things here.”


Democrats have not abandoned the white working class; though the white working class thinks they have

One of those rare occasions where I find myself largely disagreeing with Hans Noel.  He’s got a Mischiefs of Faction post arguing that, no matter the identity politics issues, Democrats have definitely not abandoned the white working class:

One item of growing consensus in the Democrats’ postmortem is that the party lost the white working class because the party is perceived to have abandoned them.

The perception is definitely real, and it may explain the outcome. But is it true that the party really has, as a matter of policy goals, ignored the working class?

Among the policies that the Democrats and President Obama enacted in the past eight years are:

In addition to these accomplishments, the party actively sought to do more, including:

These last attempts failed or were significantly diluted because Republicans, who have controlled the House of Representatives since 2011, did not like them. In an era of divided government, both parties get a say. Republicans can and did argue that these were bad policies, but it’s hard to look at the list and conclude that the Democrats have cozied up to the 1 percent…

The Clinton campaign could have done better in communicating [emphasis in original] these accomplishments and her goals for doing more if she were elected. Electoral politics is about campaigning as much as it is about policy. Clinton’s campaign focused on Trump’s character — and, by extension, on many policies of concern to women and people of color. But the economic policies were not the focus.

Together, these four points contribute to a sense that the party didn’t do enough for the white, especially rural working class. And that sense is very real. That’s a failure. But it’s very different from a party actually pivoting away from the working class…

If the white working class voted against Clinton because they think the Democratic Party sold them out, that is a reality, and the Democratic Party doesn’t get to pretend it isn’t so. But it is not a reality it can respond to by simply “returning” to something it never really stopped doing.

Good points.  And yet.  Obviously, Democrats never “abandoned” the white working class policy-wise.  But, it seems equally obvious that the wwc, does not feel represented by the Democratic party.  And that’s because, for most voters, politics is not about specific policies, but a story.  And Donald Trump convinced these voters (many of whom were already Republican for the cultural reasons we’ve discussed) of the story that he had their backs, he was looking out for their interests, he understood them.

Sure, the Democrats had the specific policies, but when it comes to a “story” emphasis sure as hell matters.  And it is absolutely clear that economic policies that benefit working class voters (of any race), was far from an emphasis of Clinton’s campaign.  Insofar as messaging, symbols, and rhetoric matter– and I would argue, a lot, the Democrats have, in fact, pivoted away from the economic issues of concern to the white working class.

And, no, I don’t think the Democrats should be focusing on the white working class (in large part because of how racial resentment gets tied into all of this), but a real story and emphasis about how the Democratic party is looking out for the needs of non-college-educated, working Americans, will surely help.

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