Why the end of the Trump Shutdown is good for Democrats

National Park closures during 2013 government shutdown

Today, Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to end the federal government shutdown (known as the “Trump Shutdown”) and keep government running until February 8, by which time Congress hopes to vote on a new long-term spending bill. In return for their agreement, Democrats got a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that Congressional Republicans had let expire last September. Furthermore, the agreement includes a promise by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which Donald Trump ended last September. The agreement can be seen as a net win for Democrats, and they should portray it as such.

The Republican Party’s twisted masculinity

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and alleged child predator Roy Moore, dressed as a cowboy.

The latest revelations regarding Donald Trump‘s affair with and payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels don’t seem to be fazing Republicans. The reaction seems to be no more negative within the GOP than when Trump was caught on tape bragging to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women. Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, even accused Trump of raping her, and some 19 women have also accused Trump of sexually assaulting or harassing them. This yawn from Republicans about Trump’s conduct toward women extends to many other Republican politicians as well. For example, U.S. Senator David Vitter was caught and admitted hiring prostitutes in 2007, and was re-elected in 2010. Likewise, Newt Gingrich has been a top Republican presidential contender and adviser for years, even though he is a serial adulterer who presented his first wife with divorce terms as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. That these Republican men never seem to be punished by their supposedly “family values” base for sexual misconduct or mistreatment of women may be because the Republican Party thrives on a twisted notion of masculinity.

Democratic framing guru says stop talking about Trump’s tweets

Thinking about Twitter

This blog was founded on the principles of Dr. George Lakoff, former Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and the sometimes official, sometimes unofficial messaging and framing guru of the Democratic Party. Last November, we covered an intriguing question Lakoff raised in his blog: “Why are you a Democrat?” Therefore, we are especially interested in Lakoff’s recent piece, where he tells Democrats to stop sharing, repeating and talking about Donald Trump‘s tweets.

2018 brings calls for Democrats to focus on winning Congressional elections

U.S. Senate under Republican control

2018 has begun, and it is an election year. While so-called “off-year” (Congressional, state and local, but not presidential) elections often garner disappointingly low voter turnout on the Democratic side, calls have already emerged for Democrats to focus, and work hard, on winning back one or the other houses of Congress, or both. For example, yesterday, progressive website Crooks and Liars published a piece entitled: Take Back The House In 2018, But Don’t Forget The Senate! At the same time, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean tweeted:

Both of these suggestions, focusing primarily on the House or the Senate, have merit.

Suggestion for Democrats: gloves off, no cooperation with Republicans

Soft and fuzzy Democrats

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have waged at least a nine-year war against the Democrats. The first eight years included obstruction of President Barack Obama at every turn, as the GOP plotted on Obama’s inauguration night. This Republican obstruction culminated in the unprecedented move of refusing to hold a confirmation hearing and vote on President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, even though the Republicans had 10 months to do so. Now that a Republican is in the White House, Donald Trump, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and their partisan cohorts suddenly want the Democrats to bend in order to pass so-called “bipartisan” legislation that is written by Republicans, typically with no opportunity for Democratic input. The Democrats should not bend over and take this treatment. Instead, Democrats should fight, filibuster, and otherwise refuse to cooperate with Republicans every chance they get.

NBC’s Kasie Hunt blames “both sides” for problems in Washington, gets slammed

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and colleagues demonstrating against GOP government shutdown in 2013.

Today, Kasie Hunt of NBC News took to Twitter to blame “both sides” for the current mess in Washington, including another potential federal government shutdown. Here’s Hunt’s tweet:

Almost immediately, Hunt got slammed on Twitter by many people who all had essentially the same reaction. Here are a few samples, including one from Messaging Matters:

Alabama Senate victory shows Democrats they must work harder

Roy Moore rides off into the sunset

Last Tuesday, Democratic candidate Doug Jones won a stunning upset over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama U.S. Senate special election. Jones’ win was remarkable given that this Senate seat went over 97 percent for Republican incumbent Jeff Sessions (who early this year left to become U.S. Attorney General in the Donald Trump administration) the last time it was contested in 2014. The Democrats did not even field a challenger to Sessions that time. There were several keys to Jones’ victory, each of which shows that the Democrats can beat the Republicans at the voting booth, if they work extra hard on several fronts:

By pressuring Senator Al Franken to resign, Democrats defeat themselves

U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota

Following increasing pressure by Congressional Democrats over allegations of sexual impropriety, U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota announced his resignation yesterday. Democratic pressure put only or primarily on Franken (as well as Democratic U.S. House Rep. John Conyers) to resign is a politically grave mistake. At a critical time in history for America, the Democrats are now in a circular firing squad, setting themselves up for defeats of their own making.

Is Donald Trump preparing us for the release of a very naughty tape?

Suspected Trump/Russia connections

Donald Trump has spent much of this year attacking mainstream (non-Murdoch) news media outlets, calling them “fake news.” The term apparently means real news that isn’t flattering to Trump. This can be seen as a strategy to influence us not to believe what we see, hear and read, unless it comes from a pro-Trump media outlet like Fox News. But now Trump seems to have taken his propaganda strategy one step further: he is saying that the Access Hollywood” tape released in October 16, in which Trump tells host Billy Bush that he likes to “just start kissing women” and “grab them by the pu*sy. You can do anything” is not authentic. What’s going on?

DCCC releases Thanksgiving dinner table talking points

Thanksgiving dinner table: calm before the storm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the official arm of the Democratic Party seeking to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives, has released its annual “Know Your Stuffing” Thanksgiving dinner table talking points. This year’s DCCC guide, sent by email to supporters and available in .pdf format, is billed as a “guide to surviving Thanksgiving with your Republican family.” The DCCC guide, which has a friendly graphical format, has been kept simple, covering just four topics, in the form of suggested Democratic responses to the following political statements expected by Republicans around the Thanksgiving dinner table this Thursday: