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Max

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  1. George H.W. Bush was president when I first became interested in politics and was somebody who I really admired, so his death brings quite a bit of sadness for me. I know that this isn’t going to be popular, but I thought that the American people made a horrendous mistake in 1992 when they rejected Bush’s bid for a second term and chose Bill Clinton. That said, I recognize that Bush was far from perfect. Nor was he even the individual whom I wish were elected president in 1998; that distinction actually goes to Bob Dole. What’s interesting is that had Michael Dukakis defeated GHWB in 1988, history would have been different in so many ways. Obviously, Dukakis probably would have handled the tumultuous international events which occurred in 1989, 1990, and 1991 in a very different manner than Bush handled them. And domestically, Bush’s 1988 win paved the way for a series of events that allowed all his successors to reach the White House: First, GHWB’s sky-high approval ratings after the First Gulf War led many to believe that he was unbeatable in 1992 and caused all the big name Democrats to take a pass that year; had he had more serious competition, Bill Clinton—who was little-known outside of Arkansas at the start of the 1990's—almost certainly would not have received the Democratic Nomination. (Had Dukakis won in 1988, there obviously would not have been a contested Democratic primary until 1996. But regardless, Clinton would still have had the same level of difficultly winning the nomination due the fact that he was a little-known governor.) Secondly, had GHWB lost in 1988, chances are that his sons would have had a considerably tougher time launching political careers on their own, which—in turn—would have meant that George W. Bush would likely have never become president. Then, were it not for Bush 43’s disastrous second term, the American electorate likely would not have been willing to take a chance on somebody as inexperienced as Barack Obama. And finally, the sad fact of the matter is that Donald Trump’s presidency probably would not have occurred had he not become the leader of the Birther Movement (as that pretty much launched his political career). Before I conclude this post, I wanted to share these fascinating Election Night videos from 1988 and 1992 that are available on YouTube (in case anybody hasn’t yet seen them):
  2. It’s impossible to predict with 100% certainty what will happen to the GOP if the Trump presidency implodes. Perhaps a Democrat wins in 2020 but a major recession or some other crisis then occurs which results in the GOP rebounding by 2024. However, even though the GOP quickly rebounded after Watergate and GWB’s disastrous second term, I think that a similar type of rebound is unlikely to happen if the Trump presidency implodes because the GOP is much more “locked in” with Trump than it ever was with Nixon or Bush. Much more likely, IMO, is that the GOP either (1) spends a very long time in the political wilderness before attaining power again (which is what happened after Herbert Hoover’s presidency) or (2) permanently splits up, with the white nationalists forming one political party and mainstream conservatives (many of whom supported Trump in 2016, but only reluctantly) establishing another political party. If the GOP splits in two, the Democrats would then control all levers of power in the immediate aftermath. Over time, however, I would not be surprised if serious fissures develop in the Democratic Party between the moderate and liberal wings (as pretty much all the important policy fights would be between moderate and liberal Democrats), which could eventually lead to the Democratic Party also splitting in two. Thus, a quarter-century or so from now, it wouldn’t shock me if the United States were to have a four-party system. One other comment (regarding something that you mentioned) is that Cult 45 will almost certainly never blame either themselves or Trump in the event that his presidency implodes. Hannity and Trump's other propagandists have already laid the groundwork over who will be to blame if Trump goes down: It will be the fault of the mainstream media, Democrats, and the "deep state." But above all, Cult 45 will pin the blame on "RINOs" and NeverTrumpers. All this anger and finger-pointing will likely lead to a prolonged civil war within the GOP. Whether the GOP can eventually put itself back together after spending a long time in the political wilderness or whether it permanently breaks up is an open question.
  3. Alphanguy, I believe that the election heads to the House if no candidate reaches 270 electoral votes, and that each state's delegation has one vote. Also, I believe that the newly elected House (i.e., the House that is elected in the 2020 election) would have the power to cast the votes for president. In regards to how each House member would vote, I would guess that 95+% of them would support his or her party's nominee, since supporting the independent candidate would be suicidal for any House member other than a Democrat representing a solidly red district or a Republican representing a solidly blue district. Roman, I wish that were the case, but I unfortunately do not see Trump facing any serious primary challengers in 2020, because there are too many cowardly Republicans who refuse to stand up to Trump and his cult (and the awful showing for Republicans in the midterms will do little to change that). I actually do believe that Trump will face a primary challenge, but it will be one or more of the usual suspects, such as John Kasich, Jeff Flake, or Ben Sasse, all of whom are pariahs within the GOP. Those who are serious threats, such as Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz, and others, are too craven to challenge Trump, because such individuals know that challenging Trump would be seen as an unforgivable sin by much of the GOP base. Of course, if Trump’s presidency implodes (either because of the findings of the Mueller investigation or because of some other scandal that has yet to be made public), then the 2020 GOP nomination will be a free-for-all. And I suspect that Haley, Cruz, Mike Pence, and other serious contenders are busy laying the groundwork for a presidential run (despite their public displays of loyalty to the POTUS) in the event that happens.
  4. Alphanguy, I would be very surprised if Ojeda got the Democratic nomination. However, I've been wrong before in my predictions, and the fact that the 2020 Democratic field is likely to be very large increases the odds for longshot candidates like Ojeda. Regarding the whole Bernie/Hillary feud, I hold opinions that are going to be unpopular with those who are die-hard supporters of either of them. I think that Bernie would have done even worse than Hillary in the general election, for all the reasons that DramatistDreamer mentioned. (I know that polls showed Bernie handily defeating Trump, but such polls are meaningless because Bernie never went through the grind of a general election campaign. This is an extreme example, but many people forget that Michael Dukakis once led George H. W. Bush by 17 points, only to get crushed on Election Day.) At the same time, I am very sympathetic with the Bernie people when they express their views that the 2016 nomination was not a fair fight. Some in the Bernie wing of the party, such as Elizabeth Warren (who granted didn't formally endorse Bernie but shares most of his ideology), claim that the nomination was rigged: https://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-dnc-rigged-2016-primary-clinton-sanders-2017-11 I would not go so far as to say that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged, but it's evident that the scales were heavily tipped in Hillary's favor. Here's just one article that elaborates on this: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/14/16640082/donna-brazile-warren-bernie-sanders-democratic-primary-rigged "It’s easy to imagine Democrats who might have run in 2016. There’s Biden and Warren and Hickenlooper, but there was also New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, to name just a few. But all of these candidates, and all the other candidates like them, ultimately passed on the race. Why?" "But part of it was the way elected officials, donors, and interest groups coalesced behind Clinton early, making it clear that alternative candidates would struggle to find money and staff and endorsements and media coverage. Clinton had the explicit support of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party and the implicit support of the Obama wing. She had spent decades building relationships in the party, and she leveraged them all in 2016. “Hillary had a lot of friends, and so did Bill,” says Elaine Kamarck, author of Primary Politics. This, in reality, is why Biden didn’t run: President Obama and his top staffers made quietly clear that they supported Clinton’s candidacy, and so she entered the field with the imprimatur that usually only accords to vice presidents." "The 2016 Democratic primary wasn’t rigged by the DNC, and it certainly wasn’t rigged against Sanders. But Democratic elites did try to make Clinton’s nomination as inevitable, as preordained, as possible. And the party is still managing the resentment that engendered in voters." IMO, immense pressure was placed on Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and others not to challenge Hillary for the nomination. This pressure most likely wasn't explicit (e.g., party bosses advising other prominent Democrats not to run), but rather implicit (e.g., big money donors solely giving to Hillary, top talent choosing to only work for Hillary, etc.). The other candidates who did run weren't viewed as serious threats to Hillary. That was certainly the case with Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee. And I believe that it was the case with Bernie as well, because--keep in mind--that few people outside Vermont even knew who he was four years ago at this point. As the Vox article pointed out, the fact that the field was essentially cleared for Clinton ironically ended up helping Bernie, as there was a large appetite among a segment of the Democratic base that wanted someone to the left of Hillary. Had Warren run, it's very likely that Bernie would never have caught fire, as she was (at the time) the most prominent figure in that wing of the Democratic Party. In fact, I suspect that Warren would have beaten Hillary for the nomination had she run, since Warren would have had a considerably easier time than Bernie attracting support among minorities and the Democratic Party elite (such as superdelegates). Warren made a mistake not running in 2016, because that was the year when her prospects were the brightest. Of course, Warren isn't alone in missing her big moment: I'm sure that Chris Christie deeply regrets not running in 2012, and I believe that Hillary's best chance of becoming POTUS was in 2004. To his credit, Obama understood that 2008 represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him, and that he would not be viewed as the hot new political phenomenon had he waited to run for president at a later time.
  5. Which TV show--past or present--has undergone a decline which saddens you the most? It certainly could be a daytime soap, but it doesn't have to be. For me, The Price Is Right's decline has been the saddest to observe. While the format of the show is still the same (six one-bid rounds, six pricing games, two Showcase Showdowns, and the Showcase round), the feel of the show is entirely different from when Bob Barker was host. Certainly, Drew Carey is a lackluster emcee, but he's improved from the terrible performance that was evident during his first few years. The lion's share of the blame, IMO, belongs to Executive Producer Mike Richards. Under his "leadership," there has been one gimmicky show after another. And according to what I've read on golden-road.net, contestants are even told how to act. Also, virtually all the classic music cues that were so unique to TPIR have disappeared. Finally, TPIR's set--at least the turntable portion of the set--looks drastically different than it did under Barker; not only has a tacky blue floor has replaced the carpeting, but the turntable walls feature these hexagon shapes which display distracting visual graphics. (My apologies if that description of the turntable is too vague, but you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about if you watch a recent episode of TPIR.) The sad thing is that there was no need to radically overhaul TPIR after Bob retired. The show has gone from being my favorite TV program to being unwatchable. And I have long been puzzled over the fact that TPIR still gets good ratings.
  6. Alphanguy, I agree that Ojeda would make a very formidable general election candidate, but he unfortunately has zero chance of winning the nomination. And there would likely be a revolt at the Democratic Convention if Kasich were ever named as a VP selection. 2020 probably represents the best chance in a very long time for an independent candidate to challenge the two-party duopoly. If Kasich wants to have any chance of making an impact, he should skip the GOP Primary (since the Republican base despises him) and go the independent route. However, I very much like your idea of a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican running together in an attempt at a "unity" ticket, and I could see either individual (Ojeda or Kasich) choosing the other as a running made as a way to offer voters an alternative to both major parties. Even if such an effort fails, I strongly believe that a third major political party is long overdue, and such a presidential campaign would help to lay the groundwork for that. I believe this was mentioned before, but Michael Bloomberg is also a complete non-starter in a Democratic Primary. If he wants to run--and 2020 really is his last chance--he should launch an independent bid: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/11/17/bloomberg_eyes_2020_but_would_dems_warm_to_him_138681.html
  7. Here's the first episode of The "New" Price Is Right: Of course, Bob Barker served as host of Truth or Consequences for many years before hosting TPIR. Here's Bob Barker's first episode of Truth or Consequences: Interestingly, the first commercial in the above clip is for a series of shows that were part of NBC's weekday morning lineup. One of those shows was none other than the original version of TPIR, hosted by Bill Cullen. I wish that more of T or C were available on You Tube, but here are some of the other clips that I found:
  8. Sorry for the belated response, as I was unable to have the time to reply until now. I know that the right-wing talking point about Robert Byrd is now a tired old trope, but resonated with me prior to the Trump Era. I certainly believe that dinosaurs like Byrd and Hollings would not be tolerated in today's Democratic Party, and I give the Democrats credit for criticizing several of their old icons after a re-examination of their racist histories. (The most obvious example of this is how Woodrow Wilson is pretty much universally despised by liberals. Not too long ago, his racist views were seldom if ever mentioned, and he was widely admired for his progressive economic programs and foreign policy positions.) As I alluded to earlier, I am bothered by the level of influence that Al Sharpton has in the Democratic Party. But more than anything else, the fact that Hillary seemed to be given a pass for her 2008 statements (which were worse than Bill’s, IMO) convinced me that the Democrats were little better than Republicans on the issue of race (prior to Trump’s rise). Obviously, Trump’s rise opened my eyes to the extent of the GOP’s racism problem. I long knew about the Southern Strategy and Lee Atwater (as you mentioned), but the racist rhetoric Trump employed is far more overt, to the point where no conservative who is intellectually honest with himself can deny that Trump and a sizable portion of his supporters are racists. (I do not believe that all Trump supporters are racist by any stretch of the imagination. Trump is a world-class conman, and he managed to dupe enough people into believing that he would solve their problems.). Also, in spite of their appeals to the white grievance crowd, previous Republican presidents could boast about some accomplishments in the area of race. Richard Nixon, for example, oversaw the successful desegregation of public schools (some 15 years after Brown v. Board of Education) and also pushed for affirmative action programs. Ronald Reagan signed into law the Simpson–Mazzoli Act. And George W. Bush urged all Americans to be tolerant towards Muslims in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. In contrast to all those examples, we now have a presidency in which the white nationalists are in control of the agenda. I know that you asked about the specific items of the pre-Trump GOP agenda with which I agreed, so I’ll tell you. For one thing, I am strongly pro-life, which puts me at odds with the vast majority of Democrats. I also believe that premarital sex and adultery are wrong and need to be strongly discouraged. I saw the GOP as the party that defended traditional moral values, particularly in light of how the Democrats excused Bill Clinton’s moral failings. Obviously, it goes without saying that any politician who aligns himself with Donald Trump forever loses the right to lecture about morality. I feel completely duped by so many “conservatives,” but that doesn’t change the sincerity of my own beliefs. In the 1990s, I feel that GOP mayors such as Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan did a tremendous job bringing down crime and changing the fortunes of urban America. Giuliani, in particular, was somebody who I really admired. Not only was he a successful crime fighter, but he cleaned up the filth in Times Square and served as such a tremendous source of strength in the aftermath of 9/11. It is beyond sad to see the person he has become in recent years (I’m honestly not sure if he changed or if he is just now showing his true colors), and I have little doubt that he’ll be best remembered for his erratic behavior as a Trump sycophant as opposed to his accomplishments as mayor. When it comes to foreign policy, there was also a lot that I liked about the GOP. Reagan and Bush 41 had an aggressive anti-communist stance and deserve a lot of the credit for the Soviet Union’s demise. Though the War in Iraq was a horrendous mistake, the surge that occurred in the final two years of Bush 43’s presidency was the right thing to do, and John McCain deserves a lot of credit for advocating for it. Had he won the presidency in 2008, I believe that Iraq would be in much better shape today. I know that Mitt Romney made a lot of cringeworthy comments during the 2012 campaign, but he showed tremendous foresight when he said that Russia was our number one geopolitical foe; at the time, President Obama mocked Romney by saying that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Given what happened during the 2012 campaign, I felt that the Democrats were slow to recognize the threat posed by Putin. Of course, the roles of the two parties are now completely reversed, and now you have Trump and his GOP enablers currying favor with Putin. The two parties have also recently reversed themselves on the issue of free trade, which had been another issue that attracted me to the GOP. Finally, on the issue of economics, I’m not a supply-sider by any means. But I do feel that tax cuts are appropriate during times of recession in order to jumpstart the economy; during times of economic prosperity and war, I would favor increasing taxes on the wealthy in order to pay down the deficit. Obviously, this stance puts me at odds with the pre-Trump GOP, but my strong opposition to Bernie Sanders’ tax plan puts me at odds with many in the Democratic base. Regarding the new tax bill (which you alluded to), I would have opposed it on the grounds that (1) it would hurt our deficit and (2) the reduced taxes aren’t needed at this present time because of the good economy. However, I don’t believe that the cap on the SALT deduction was the primary reason why so many GOP Congressman just lost their jobs. Certainly it didn’t help, but there were other factors, such as the fact that so many of these incumbents lost touch with their constituents and didn’t know how to run in a competitive race. But more than anything else, Republicans lost these seats because affluent & highly educated suburban voters (who were once the bread and butter of the GOP coalition) dislike Trump and his white nationalist agenda.
  9. Jane, I'm in full agreement with you that more conservatives opposed to Trump need to publicly acknowledge the factors that caused the party to devolve into its current state. That doesn't mean retroactively agreeing with Democratic policy positions, but it does mean recognizing that the GOP has had a long history of appealing to white resentment voters. I can't speak for anybody else, but there were several reasons why I was able to justify staying in the GOP prior to the Trump Era in spite of the history of appealing to white resentment. First, there was the obvious fact that I agreed (and still agree) with much of the GOP platform (pre-Trump). Second, I didn't realize how many people in the GOP are white nationalists; but after Trump's nomination, it should be evident to anybody that the GOP has a serious racism problem. Third, even though I was aware of the GOP’s history of appealing to white resentment voters, I was (and still am) upset over the Democrat’s recent history of appealing to black resentment voters by embracing figures such as Al Sharpton. (I’m not in any way suggesting that the black racism is equivalent to white racism, given the history of the country. But aside from those on the far-left who believe that only members of the majority can be racists, most would acknowledge that there are individuals of every skin color who are bigoted against individuals of other races.) And finally, I found it hypocritical for Democrats to criticize the GOP for appealing to white racists when it was only until very recently that Democrats weren’t willing to capitalize on such appeals if it benefited them politically. It would be one thing if all the white racists suddenly left the Democratic Party in 1964, but that’s not what happened. For starters, these same voters consistently supported Democrats in all races other than presidential elections prior to 1994. There were also Democrats in prominent positions in the 2000s—such as Robert Byrd and Fritz Hollings—who had reprehensible racial histories. But most hypocritical, IMO, was how the Democratic base seems to have forgotten just how ugly Hillary’s own 2008 presidential bid was. So when you put all of the factors I mentioned in this paragraph together, I hope that folks here can somewhat understand why I felt comfortable being part of the GOP prior to Trump’s rise. On an entirely different matter, the Democratic Party is far more liberal than it was 20 years ago. One may not believe that today’s Democratic Party is far-left or even liberal, but it’s hard to dispute that it has moved in a dramatically leftward direction relative to where it was when WJC was president. Back in the 1990s, you had a Democratic POUTS who claimed that “the era of big government is over” and signed into law GOP bills such as welfare reform. Flash forward to 2016, and you have a Democratic Party in which Bernie Sanders becomes a major contender for the nomination. And I am very much opposed to much of the current Democratic platform. It’s one thing to reform ICE, but you now have Democrats who are calling for its abolition. Many liberals also support a $15 minimum wage which would place an enormous burden on small-to-medium sized businesses and almost certainly lead to a rise in prices. And medicare for all is also a proposal that has serious drawbacks: "Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University in Atlanta, authored one of the earlier studies and says the Mercatus analysis reinforces them. "It's showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it's going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending," said Thorpe. "Even though people don't pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who'll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums." Thorpe was a senior health policy adviser in the Clinton administration.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-30/study-medicare-for-all-bill-estimated-at-32-6-trillion
  10. Jane, I can't vouch for every single representative that Trump called out by name, but Costello has been sincere in his opposition to Trump's corruption and divisive rhetoric. (I realize that he's supported policies that Trump advocated, but that's simply because most of those policies are little different from those that would have been proposed by a generic Republican POTUS. The fact that he supports these policies doesn't make his personal revulsion to Trump any less genuine.) FYI, Costello's anti-Trump stance isn't something that he just made public this past week: https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/18/politics/ryan-costello-vladimir-putin-summit-cnntv/index.html https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/29/pennsylvania-blames-trump-rhetoric-945321 And Costello has had the courage to support the Mueller investigation: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/17/mueller-protection-bill-supporters-528390
  11. While it's great that there will finally be a chamber of Congress that will investigate Trump, one unfortunate aspect of Tuesday's elections is that the House GOP caucus is even Trumpier than before, since the relative few GOP House members who weren't a part of Cult 45 either retired or got defeated. I didn't see anybody talk about this, but in his post-election press conference, Trump was practically gleeful that certain House Republicans were defeated and mentioned several by name: https://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/11/trump_blasts_gop_candidates_who_lost_mia_love_gave_me_no_love.html All this was too much for retiring Representative Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, who called Trump out with this tweet:
  12. Carl, I agree that the reason why McSally isn't acting hysterical and making up all sorts of bogus accusations (like Rick Scott is currently doing) is most likely because she is hoping to be appointed to the McCain seat should Kyl decide to leave. And in the event that Kyl chooses to serve for another two years, McSally very much wants to run in 2020 (for the remainder of McCain's term), and looking like a sore loser would pretty much kill any hope she has of becoming a U.S. Senator. On a different topic, there are definitely a lot of people who would disagree with my theory that Arizona will become a blue state in the near future. Certainly, one can point to the fact that John McCain won his last Senate race by 13% in 2016 and also to the fact that Governor Doug Ducey won re-election by 15 percentage points as evidence that Arizona is still favorable territory for Republicans. However, McCain was a deeply entrenched incumbent and Ducey had the huge benefit of running for re-election during a booming economy. By contrast, a very ominous sign for Republicans is that Trump won AZ by a paltry 3.55%, which was the worst showing any GOP presidential nominee had in AZ since Bob Dole in 1996. And with Trump and the GOP doing all they can to antagonize Latino voters, I don't see how Arizona doesn't continue to trend Democratic.
  13. If I lived in AZ, I wouldn't have been able to vote for McSally simply because (1) she cozied up to Trump too much and (2) few instances would actually merit me voting for a Republican member of Congress so long as Trump as POTUS. (I would only have voted for a Republican Congressional candidate this cycle if the Democratic candidate were corrupt--e.g., Bob Menendez--or if the Republican candidate had a long track record of criticizing Trump.) That said, there's no way I could have ever voted for Sinema either. Her background is incredibly disturbing and is full of associations with far-left groups (even working with an anarchist group): https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/12/politics/kfile-kyrsten-sinema-activist-past/index.html https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/kyrsten-sinema-in-2002-itd-be-inappropriate-to-condemn-destruction-of-property-by-anarchists She also made an incredibly repugnant comment in which she basically stated that Arizona was the crazy state: https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/arizona/new-recording-of-sinema-implying-arizona-produces-crazy/75-603482130 I know that Sinema has very cleverly branded herself has a moderate and has a center-left record as a Congresswoman. But I highly suspect that she did all this out of political necessity. (Back when Kristen Gillibrand represented a conservative Congressional District in Upstate NY, she also portrayed herself as a moderate. Of course, now that she's a U.S. Senator with presidential aspirations, she is a staunch liberal.) As Arizona continues to trend leftward--IMO, it's likely to become a Democratic state like Nevada and Colorado in the very near future, and it's also the state that Republicans are in most danger of losing in 2020--I fully expect Sinema to be far more liberal as a Senator than she was as a Congresswoman. To echo something that you mentioned in the first paragraph of your post, John Ziegler (who's an anti-Trump conservative) recently tweeted that Trump's whole 2020 strategy is to appeal to 40% of the country and have their zealous support no matter what happens. And unfortunately, Ziegler also added that it's actually a very good strategy, given how polarized the country is. Obviously, winning 40% percent of the vote won't be enough for Trump to win re-election. So in order to bring that number up to 46% (which would result in another popular vote loss but would be enough to prevail in the Electoral College), I fully expect Trump to run an even nastier campaign than he ran in 2016. He'll do whatever it takes to drive up the negative perceptions of the 2020 Democratic nominee, and he'll scare people who dislike him personally by presenting himself as the last line of defense for red state America.
  14. I've got a couple of unrelated thoughts: *I will gladly vote Democratic in my House race. (I live in a district that currently has a GOP member of Congress but is favored to be a Democratic pickup.) I would like to be able to vote Democratic in the Senate race, but I just cannot do it (and will most likely vote Republican). If Bob Menendez loses, the ultimate blame does not rest with independents and anti-Trump conservatives. Rather, the ultimate blame lies with the NJ Democratic Party (and the national Democratic Party, to a lesser extent) for making the morally reprehensible and politically brain-dead decision to rally around Menendez in spite of his history of corruption. Even if Menendez wins (which seems likely, given that he has always been ahead in the polls and given that NJ last elected a Republican to the Senate in 1972), the NJ Democrats' decision to support Menendez was political malpractice; that's because NJ is such an expense state in which to run, and the money that the Democrats have had to spend to defend this race could have been put to much better use elsewhere. *I personally think that this election is extremely hard to predict. While it seemed obvious to me that 1994, 2006, 2010, & 2014 were going to be wave years for the party that was out of power, I would not be surprised if the Republicans maintain control of the House, nor would I be surprised if there is a massive Democratic wave. Part of the difficultly in predicting this election stems from just how flawed the pollsters and the pundits were in recent election cycles. *If the polls are to be believed (though as I indicated above, the polling industry has had a lot of problems in recent years), one of the most surprising and underreported developments of this election cycle is how much GOP candidates have been struggling in the Rust Belt. The Rust Belt was the crucial region of the 2016 election, since it was where the biggest swing from Obama to Trump occurred. Additionally, the Rust Belt is more demographically favorable to the GOP than the country as a whole. But despite all that, the Senate races in PA, OH, and WI have never been competitive, and the same holds true with the PA governor's race. Democrats also hold comfortable leads in MI's Senate and gubernatorial races. In the dark red states of IN and MO, the Senate races are toss-ups. And Democrats are favored to win the governor's races in IA, OH, and WI. *In the previous bullet point I mentioned that Democrats are favored to defeat Scott Walker in WI. Watching Scott Walker's fortunes decline has been one of the more interesting developments in recent political history. When the 2016 election cycle began, I actually expected him to be the GOP nominee and was extremely surprised that his presidential bid fizzled. (As of matter of fact, he was only the second GOP candidate to drop out of the race in the entire field of seventeen.) I think it's quite possible that Trump's entry into the race hurt Walker more than any other GOP candidate, since the two politicians appeal to many of the same types of voters. Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room, and Walker's blandness became a political liability that he couldn't overcome.
  15. From Monday, June 27, 1983 through Thursday, June 30, 1983, TPIR conducted a salute to CBS's soaps, with an episode devoted to each of them. Here's the 6/27/83 episode that saluted ATWT: The 6/28/83 episode that saluted GL: The 6/29/83 episode that saluted Y&R: And the 6/30/83 episode that saluted Capitol:
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