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US Politics: Borrow And Spend Conservatism Marches On

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30 minutes ago, Yukle said:

Defections become very rare once numbers are tight. When members can cross the floor on an issue but still have law pass, they get two bites of the cherry: they get to look high and mighty while also getting the legislation passed.

This is why supposedly brave senators like McCain nonetheless follow the status quo in most matters; once their votes will actually sink a bill their courage fades. A one-seat Republican majority would make Paul Ryan suddenly seem like the strongest leader ever as almost all matters would pass unanimously in his party.

Man, there's a big difference between keeping 51 out of 51 senators in line and keeping 216 out of 220 reps in line. Not only because of the numbers, but because you also have a lot more batshit lunatics and weird caucuses in the House.

EDIT: To be honest, that's more of a gut feeling than based on data. Could be interesting to compare how often slim majority parties failed to muster majorities on big issues compared to in the Senate.

Edited by denstorebog

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2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

Omarosa is planning a tell-all book about the White House.

Friends of Trump are lining up to take shots at her.

Piers Morgan is now saying she offered to have sex with him in exchange for his support on Celebrity Apprentice.

Break out the popcorn!

 

What could go wrong when a bunch of shameless attention seekers have a public food fight? 

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30 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

What could go wrong when a bunch of shameless attention seekers have a public food fight? 

The problem is, the public keeps feeding them.

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52 minutes ago, denstorebog said:

Man, there's a big difference between keeping 51 out of 51 senators in line and keeping 216 out of 220 reps in line. Not only because of the numbers, but because you also have a lot more batshit lunatics and weird caucuses in the House.

EDIT: To be honest, that's more of a gut feeling than based on data. Could be interesting to compare how often slim majority parties failed to muster majorities on big issues compared to in the Senate.

Problem there is there's not much recent data on slim majorities in the House to compare.  Even upping the threshold to the majority holding at least 230 seats (or about 53%), the last time a House majority had fewer was during Dubya's first term (the GOP House had similarly slim majorities in Clinton's second term, but that's a much less reliable comparison because the type of votes an opposition House brings to the floor under divided government are fundamentally different than a House majority under unified government).

Looking at Dubya's first term, it's hard to make any broad conclusions because he basically abandoned any domestic agenda following 9/11 and especially as the administration began selling the Iraq War.  One could certainly argue that pre-9/11, Bush pursued a much more bipartisan strategy than we've seen since on his major initiatives - namely No Child Left Behind and his tax cuts, the latter of which saw minimal but crucial support among Democrats even in the House.

Generally, it is true that as an institution the House has more agenda-setting powers - importantly negative agenda-setting power, or preventing undesirable legislation from the floor.  However, there is empirical evidence that the Senate majority's negative agenda control is effectively analogous to the House's despite lacking the same formal mechanisms.

Practically, none of this really matters.  Trump's legislative agenda is functionally dormant until a potential reelection outside of budget disputes.  I suppose it's possible a GOP Congress would use reconciliation to try and push through legislation on entitlements (which would be incredibly stupid, electorally) or infrastructure (which I'm not even sure the administration actually cares about, let alone Trump himself or the GOP Congress), but it's very unlikely.  The only remaining possibility I can think of is the GOP kicks the can down the road again on DACA.

The presidential election is going to dominate attention by next summer, even without the potential of a big-name primary challenge for Trump, which is quite possible.  In all likelihood, the only major legislation that will be considered in Congress post-midterm will be they have to raise the debt ceiling again next March, and the next budget battle which will happen late next year and/or early 2020, on the eve of primary season.  And in terms of budget battles, as we just saw the GOP already had to rely on Democratic support to get any agreement to the president's desk.  Stands to reason this will only be exacerbated if the GOP House has a very slim majority.

What does matter in terms of governing during the 18-month presidential election season is how discretionary spending of agencies is allocated.  This is controlled by the committee system - Appropriations and the relevant committee that has jurisdiction overseeing agency budget requests.  This is a binary though; only committee control matters, which is another reason why retaking the majority in the House is desirable.

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22 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

The presidential election is going to dominate attention by next summer, even without the potential of a big-name primary challenge for Trump, which is quite possible.  In all likelihood, the only major legislation that will be considered in Congress post-midterm will be they have to raise the debt ceiling again next March, and the next budget battle which will happen late next year and/or early 2020, on the eve of primary season.  And in terms of budget battles, as we just saw the GOP already had to rely on Democratic support to get any agreement to the president's desk.  Stands to reason this will only be exacerbated if the GOP House has a very slim majority.

This assumes that the current standing orders within the Senate are maintained, and there is no guarantee that they will. I can see Trump coaxing the Senate into voting away all of their normal conventions, just as was the case for 60-vote majorities needed to confirm executive or judicial appointments.

In another means of attack, I am also expecting that Trump will continue to fire all of Mueller's overseers and his investigation will soon be completely toothless.

Similarly, I think we can expect Republican states to start placing formal requirements on being on the ballot for presidency. This would allow them to block Democratic candidates from standing in their states, giving free wins to Trump. This was first pitched as pie-in-the-sky ideas from Democratic lawmakers who mused over making it a formal requirement that all candidates release their tax returns before being allowed on the ballot. I can easily see the Republicans doing the same in their own way, only in reality, not just thinking about it.

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17 minutes ago, Yukle said:

This assumes that the current standing orders within the Senate are maintained, and there is no guarantee that they will. I can see Trump coaxing the Senate into voting away all of their normal conventions, just as was the case for 60-vote majorities needed to confirm executive or judicial appointments.

If the GOP Senate refused to abolish the (legislative) filibuster after Trump was elected, they're not gonna after the midterms.  Maybe if he's reelected.

19 minutes ago, Yukle said:

In another means of attack, I am also expecting that Trump will continue to fire all of Mueller's overseers and his investigation will soon be completely toothless.

This emphasizes the importance of retaking the House.

21 minutes ago, Yukle said:

I think we can expect Republican states to start placing formal requirements on being on the ballot for presidency. This would allow them to block Democratic candidates from standing in their states, giving free wins to Trump. 

Not sure what you mean here.  Do you think the GOP will entirely block Democratic presidential candidates from the general election ballot in certain states?  If so, I strongly disagree.

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So this Spermgate thing about Obama's official portrait is a fascinating commentary about the right's ongoing obsession over Obama.

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23 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Not sure what you mean here.  Do you think the GOP will entirely block Democratic presidential candidates from the general election ballot in certain states?  If so, I strongly disagree.

Yes, or I think that they will put politically damaging requirements on them. For instance, they might require that candidates also receive the permission of a state legislature, thereby requiring them to accede to demands of their state.

I really wouldn't put faith in them not doing it simply because it's wrong or because it will appall voters. Voter suppression and gerrymandering also should cause voters to riot but they don't.

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3 minutes ago, Yukle said:

I really wouldn't put faith in them not doing it simply because it's wrong or because it will appall voters. Voter suppression and gerrymandering also should cause voters to riot but they don't.

They're not going to do it because it's unconstitutional and even the most conservative court in the country would strike it down.  Not to mention, yes, doing so would cause far greater voter outrage than gerrymandering (which has existed since the ratification) or the current efforts at voter suppression.  You're talking about something even the South didn't try during Jim Crow.  In part because it doesn't matter - in the states most likely to try this, Trump is going to win anyway.

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6 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

They're not going to do it because it's unconstitutional and even the most conservative court in the country would strike it down...

Is it? There's nothing preventing it.

Making profit from being in a position of power is explicitly unconstitutional and Trump is doing it. Nothing is happening about it. Therefore, they can really do what they like.

As for the fact Trump will win certain states - sure, but think further ahead. Why not rig it so you never lose a state again?

Edited by Yukle

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3 hours ago, Yukle said:

Defections become very rare once numbers are tight. When members can cross the floor on an issue but still have law pass, they get two bites of the cherry: they get to look high and mighty while also getting the legislation passed.

This is why supposedly brave senators like McCain nonetheless follow the status quo in most matters; once their votes will actually sink a bill their courage fades. A one-seat Republican majority would make Paul Ryan suddenly seem like the strongest leader ever as almost all matters would pass unanimously in his party.

I wouldn't be so sure in the House. Boehner literally quit because the caucus there is ungovernable. They are the pre-Trump. His Johns the Baptist. The people who are high on their own supply finally in charge. And the result is a government that can't function.

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1 hour ago, Yukle said:

This assumes that the current standing orders within the Senate are maintained, and there is no guarantee that they will. I can see Trump coaxing the Senate into voting away all of their normal conventions, just as was the case for 60-vote majorities needed to confirm executive or judicial appointments.

The Senate is not gonna do shit for Trump. They dropped the filibuster for judicial appointments so they could complete their decades-long plan for packing the courts and that's it.

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1 hour ago, The Anti-Targ said:

So this Spermgate thing about Obama's official portrait is a fascinating commentary about the right's ongoing obsession over Obama.

Er, what?

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23 minutes ago, Shryke said:

The Senate is not gonna do shit for Trump. They dropped the filibuster for judicial appointments so they could complete their decades-long plan for packing the courts and that's it.

They also passed tax cuts that included clauses specifically designed for him and waved through his widely incompetent executive appointments. The worst of which was the global-warming-denialist who heads the EPA and an idiot leading education.

To say nothing of the fact that Trump is still in office! They impeached Clinton for less than this. They'd never, no matter what he does, impeach him and the Senate would not convict him.

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1 hour ago, Fragile Bird said:

Er, what?

Apparently some folks think there are hidden images of sperm in Obama's presidential portrait, because something, something.

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1 hour ago, Yukle said:

They also passed tax cuts that included clauses specifically designed for him and waved through his widely incompetent executive appointments. The worst of which was the global-warming-denialist who heads the EPA and an idiot leading education.

 

Is he a denier? I thought I saw something recently that said he claimed global warming was a good thing. So surely he's not a denier of global warming, possibly more like delluded about the effects of global warming.

But then again, if global warming is going to lead to mass drownings of minorities and poor people around the world, maybe that's what he means by it being a "good thing".

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18 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Apparently some folks think there are hidden images of sperm in Obama's presidential portrait, because something, something.

lol not just that, people are saying the actual paint was mixed with sperm

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2 hours ago, Yukle said:

Is it? There's nothing preventing it.

Yes, there is.  It plainly would violate the EPC and arguably the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Not to mention arguments to be made on First and Fifth Amendment grounds, nor to mention it likely violates many if not most state constitutions (albeit these are more pliable in many cases).  The difference with current voting suppression efforts - from voter ID laws to restrictions for ex-cons to registration requirements to early voting, etc. - is that all of these are applied universally to all citizens, even if obviously disproportionately affecting a targeted subgroup of voters.  What you're proposing is an unequal standard to ballot access for presidential candidates based on party affiliation.  Eugene Debs ran and received over 3 percent of the vote in the 1920 presidential election as the Socialist Party nominee while he was in federal prison and stripped of his citizenship.  It is decidedly a horse of a different color.

2 hours ago, Yukle said:

As for the fact Trump will win certain states - sure, but think further ahead. Why not rig it so you never lose a state again?

Because that's ignorant of how parties shift.  Parties are coalitions of voters, they have no inherent beliefs or goals other to win elections.  And those coalitions are constantly fluid.  Major realignments are seldom, but also unpredictable.  Who knows what coalition constitutes the Democratic or Republican parties in twenty years?

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1 hour ago, Yukle said:

They also passed tax cuts that included clauses specifically designed for him and waved through his widely incompetent executive appointments. The worst of which was the global-warming-denialist who heads the EPA and an idiot leading education.

To say nothing of the fact that Trump is still in office! They impeached Clinton for less than this. They'd never, no matter what he does, impeach him and the Senate would not convict him.

Yes, but what does that have to do with anything I said?

To them Trump is a rubber stamp. They keep him happy and he packs the courts for them, guts the regulatory state and the social safety net and signs the tax cut bills he wants. And in return they pay him a pittance in tribute.

They are not gonna chuck away the filibuster on his say so. Why would they? What's in it for them? They don't respect him, they are just using him and trying to stay just enough on his good side so they can keep getting elected.

Edited by Shryke

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