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On the roster: Dems face the dangers of unpopular populism - Biden looks to stay above the fray tonight - I’ll Tell You What: What is that smell? - SupCo says courts can’t fix gerrymandering - Sl-ugh
DEMS FACE THE DANGERS OF UNPOPULAR POPULISM
“We have to … make real change in this country whether it’s politically popular or not.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., discussing gun control at a NBC presidential debate.
What kind of an election is this anyway?
To listen to most of the discussion at the first Democratic debate, this is an election about a massive re-ordering of American politics and life, like it or not.
Very telling was what the aspirants said they would do about dealing with Mitch McConnell if they were to win the presidency but Republicans still controlled the Senate.
The answer from the most liberal candidates was some variation of Ted Cruz’s rallying cry from his 2013 government shutdown: “#MakeDCListen.” Though it was obvious he didn’t have the votes to repeal ObamaCare and that president whose name is on the legislation was sure to veto the measure, Cruz said it would be possible if a movement of outraged Americans rose up and announced their anger.
Guess what happened? The effort was a failure. And when Republicans finally did have the chance to “repeal and replace” it actually turned out that Americans liked ObamaCare pretty well and the party flaked out.
Now it’s the Democrats turn.
Here’s New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sounding pretty Cruz-y: “To your question about Mitch McConnell, there is a political solution. If the Democratic Party would stop acting like the party of the elites and go into states including red states, we can put pressure on their senators to vote for the nominees that are put forward.”
Oh suuuuuuuuure. Sen. Joe Manchin would no doubt have been deeply intimidated by the prospect of a guy too liberal for even New Yorkers rolling into Twilight, W.Va. to put the pressure on. The fight for liberal, pro-choice justices begins in Boone County!
But it was the star on the stage in Miami who had the sharpest pitchfork.
“Sure, I want to see us get a Democratic majority in the Senate,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “But short of a Democratic majority, you better understand the fight still goes on. It starts in the White House and it means that everyone we energize in 2020 stays on the frontlines come January 2021.
“We have to push from the outside and have leadership from the inside and make this Congress reflect the will of the people.”
Did you get that?
What do you do if voters reject your party in the Senate? Screw the voters, make the Senate listen to the will of the people!
This is why attacks on election legitimacy are so popular in both parties. If the election results aren’t valid, you might be able to challenge them. But at the very least, you can ignore what the voters said.
Remember always that American populism isn’t about what’s popular, but rather advancing the demands of a subgroup that has a grievance against those in power.
Sometimes, it’s wildly successful.
In the spring of 1964, Gallup asked Americans what they thought about the mass demonstrations by African Americans in favor of civil rights legislation. Seventy-four percent of respondents said the marches, boycotts and sit-ins were a bad idea and harming the cause of racial equality.
Even as late as 1963, there still wasn’t majority support for a law mandating integrated accommodations for black and white Americans. But as the vote approached in June of 1964, support grew and grew until more than 60 percent of respondents were on board.
That’s populism at its best: A movement that begins with the legitimate grievance of a group in the face of widespread opposition that eventually grows over the course of more than a decade into a movement that changes national attitudes. This is populism by persuasion.
While Warren, de Blasio and some other Democratic populists may imagine themselves as the Freedom Riders for a new progressive agenda – single-payer health insurance, free college, gun control, a $15 minimum wage, unrestricted elective abortion, etc. – it’s pretty clear that they are more in the mold of their Republican counterparts: Ideologues trying to reverse engineer a movement to deliver radical change.
Theirs is not a simple plea to allow one disadvantaged group to enjoy the basic rights and privileges afforded to all others, but rather a call for massive change in the system that would affect every American.
The problem for them is that they are way out of step not just with the broader electorate, but within their own party.
In our poll this month, we asked Democratic primary voters to choose between some binary options for preferred candidate attributes. Asked whether they preferred a nominee “who will provide steady, reliable leadership” or one “with a bold, new agenda,” Democrats split 72 percent to 25 percent for “steady, reliable” over “bold, new.”
Republicans must have been delighted to hear Democrats, even the B team, in a race to see who would most urgently, completely disrupt American life.
And most Democrats must have been at least a little alarmed to think that at a moment where voters seem to be interested in a safe alternative to our mercurial incumbent and his chaotic administration the loudest voices were the ones who want to trade one populist revolution for another.
BIDEN LOOKS TO STAY ABOVE THE FRAY TONIGHT
Politico: “It was 2012, and an overconfident President Barack Obama had just bombed his first head-to-head against GOP nominee Mitt Romney. A wave of nervousness and doubt crested over his reelection bid after his sluggish debate performance, raising the stakes for Vice President Joe Biden in his own debate a week later against Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Biden rose to the occasion. He was authoritative and aggressive in all the ways Obama was not. … The circumstances are decidedly different as Biden enters Thursday’s Democratic debate in Miami, but once again much is riding on his performance. And if he’s proved anything over his three presidential runs and decades of debating on the national stage, it’s that on these occasions he comes through in the clutch. … He can seamlessly transition from folksy ‘Uncle Joe’ from Scranton, Pa., to a more pugilistic version of himself when attempting to correct the record.”
DNC grabs cash in Miami - Politico: “The Democratic National Committee will throw a lunchtime fundraiser in Miami Beach on Thursday as the primary debates draw party donors and other VIPs to the city. The event was organized by the DNC finance chairman, Chris Korge, and will be held at the home of Thomas Sullivan, the founder of the hardwood flooring company Lumber Liquidators. … The fundraiser tied to the debates shows another way the DNC is using the large, energetic 2020 field of Democrats to its advantage as the committee tries to build up financial contributions ahead of the 2020 general election. In addition to raising money from donors, the committee is charging candidates $175,000 to use its voter information file and asking them to participate in partywide fundraising.”
Trump campaign spends big bucks with Google - NPR “President Trump's campaign is counterprogramming the debate and making a point — he is the president, running for reelection while Democrats are running against each other. … The campaign purchased what's known as the masthead on YouTube, the space at the top of the site's main page. It's an ad buy that can cost as much as $1 million for 24 hours of reaching every person who visits the free version of the video-sharing site, which is owned by Google. The space is one of the most high-profile places to advertise online and is more commonly purchased for big movie premieres or brand launches than for politics.”
THE RULEBOOK: LET’S STICK TO PENS, PLEASE
“To reason from the past to the future, we shall have good ground to apprehend, that the sword would sometimes be appealed to as the arbiter of their differences.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 7
TIME OUT: SNAP
Atlantic: “Every spring, teenagers and grown-ups travel from around the country to enter the U.S.A. Memory Championship. The competitors, called ‘memory athletes,’ accomplish incredible cognitive feats over the course of the event. … Alex Mullen, who won the competition [in 2016], memorized the order of a deck of playing cards in under 19 seconds and successfully recalled a sequence of 483 numbers after studying it for just five minutes. But champions like Mullen insist that they don’t possess any extraordinary proclivity for memorization. To hone their memories to competitive levels, they train every day for years—and they say that, with the same training, anyone can learn to remember anything. … [Most] memory athletes, [teach themselves] to remember information through a process known as ‘elaborative encoding’—relating disconnected numbers, words, or facts to networks of existing memories and knowledge. … Memory athletes’ skills come from turning the first, less memorable kind of information into the second kind.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 44.5 percent
Average disapproval: 52 percent
Net Score: -7.4 points
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 42% approve - 51% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 49% approve - 48% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 53% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 53% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 55% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: WHAT IS THAT SMELL?
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss how the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates are preparing for the debate stage, Dana reveals why she and Peter were woken up at 3 AM and the duo discuss a perception gap study: Are Americans imagining how divided we are? LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
SUPCO SAYS COURTS CAN’T FIX GERRYMANDERING
Fox News: “The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, said federal judges have no role in policing partisan redistricting, effectively removing the courts from the process and leaving controversial congressional maps in North Carolina and Maryland in place. The opinion on gerrymandering, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, stated that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to rule on political questions such as this. It is up to lawmakers to deal with such issues. ‘We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,’ Roberts wrote. ‘Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.’ The cases … dealt with the mapping of congressional districts in Maryland and North Carolina, respectively, in ways that blatantly favored one party over another. Lower courts ruled that the redistricting was improper and ordered them to adopt new plans.”
VerBruggen: Partisan gerrymandering is corrosive - National Review: “The Founders gave the task of drawing congressional districts to state legislatures, and Congress the authority to override the states via federal law, knowing full well that these are political bodies. Further, there is no definitive way to measure how much gerrymandering has taken place in a given situation, and no objective way for the courts to say how much is too much. The issue is, in legal jargon, non-justiciable. But after celebrating a victory for the Constitution’s original meaning, we can pause for a second to admit that the practice of rigging the party balance of a state’s congressional delegation is nothing to be proud of. When legislators use their power at one point in time to lock in a structural advantage until the next decade’s census – deliberately watering down the votes of some of the people they’re supposed to be representing –they abuse the process and undermine faith in the political system.”
Trump administration barred from adding citizenship question to Census - AP: “In the census case, the court said the Trump administration’s explanation for wanting to add the question was ‘more of a distraction’ than an explanation. The administration had cited the need to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. It’s unclear whether the administration would have time to provide a fuller account. Census forms are supposed to be printed beginning next week. Roberts again had the court’s opinion, with the four liberals joining him in the relevant part of the outcome. A lower court found the administration violated federal law in the way it tried to add a question broadly asking about citizenship for the first time since 1950. The Census Bureau’s own experts have predicted that millions of Hispanics and immigrants would go uncounted if the census asked everyone if he or she is an American citizen.”
THE JUDGE’S RULING: TRUMP VS. HEALTH CARE TRANSPARENCY
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains how the president uses unconstitutional law to micromanage health care: “First, if the Trump administration holds that ObamaCare is, in fact, unconstitutional – either because the chief justice and his colleagues were wrong in 2012, as the president has argued, or because the federal court in Texas is correct, as the Justice Department contends – how can President Trump rely on an unconstitutional statute to issue a command to health care providers? The second issue … addresses the separation of powers and the non-delegation doctrine, the latter championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Under the Constitution, the federal government – whether Congress or the president – has no say in health care. We know that because the 10th Amendment reserves the power to regulate health, safety, welfare and morality to the states.” More here.
President Trump arrives to G-20 summit in Japan - WaPo
AUDIBLE: ‘HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE’
“At the end hold hands with everybody that you are watching the debate with, say a quick Namaste and be happy that you have so many more Democratic Debates to look forward to covering.” – Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson’s press team sent in an email to reporters suggesting ways to de-stress from the debates.
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UPI: “A Japanese rail operator said the cause of a power failure that led to delays for 12,000 passengers was identified as a tiny slug. Rail operator JR Kitakyushu said an investigation into the May 30 outage in Japan's southern Kyushu region, which caused delays for about 12,000 passengers and led to 26 trains being canceled for the day, determined the cause was a slug that found its way into some sensitive equipment. Officials said the slug came into contact with an electrical cable, burning the mollusk and causing the power to fail. A spokesman said the slug had squeezed through a gap in what was supposed to be a secure box.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“You get there and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the kids are romping and everyone’s happy.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 23, 2010.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.