We could have a parliament

In a new post at Forbes I explore the possibility, hinted at in a previous GOPLifer piece, that centrists in both parties could create something remarkable in the new Congress. With one party holding the slimmest of majorities, we could see an opening for real parliamentary politics for the first time.

The rising Trumpnami has placed the Republicans’ once-formidable Congressional majority in jeopardy. This raises a very interesting possibility. Right now, the most plausible projections involve Paul Ryan retaining his Congressional majority, but by only a few seats. If Democrats win a majority, they can only hope to hold the tiniest of margins. Congress is about to be presented with a monumental opportunity to transform our political system for the better.

In the coming Congress, a surviving remnant of relatively rational Republicans like Mia Love, John Katko and Barbara Comstock will be handed remarkable power. They will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to crack open our two-party monolith by forming a parliamentary coalition with centrist Democrats. Congressmen like John Katko could potentially hand the Speaker’s gavel to a Democrat, opening the door to a new era of multi-party, or rather “sub-party” politics in America.

If this occurs, there is a real possibility that partisan “sub-labels,” like the Freedom Caucus, Progressive Democrats, and so on, could become a very important part of Congressional primary races. In so doing, we could usher in an era of intra-party political competition that would look very much like multi-party politics. As the parties at the national level weaken, this could offer a chance for reform that would retain some coherence in the existing parties while opening up much broader representation. And it is a real possibility if Congressmen recognize it and have the courage to act.

63 Comments

  1. This news just in: John Stumpf is out. The Wells Fargo BOD announced that Stumpf will retire, effective immediately. Recall that at the September 14th Congressional hearing, he stated he would not retire. Well, he did, taking with him a total compensation package of $123.6 million.

    Remember all that “grandstanding” by Elizabeth Warren? It seems people were paying attention.

    The analysts on CNBC noted something that I believe crosses over to our political sector. People never felt that the banking industry was punished for the Great Recession of 2008. The mood of the country is “ugly” and disclosure of the WF scandal has finally got its sacrificial lamb. Although I am glad the American people are finally paying attention and speaking out, I wonder what impact this will have for Trump’s candidacy?

  2. Here’s a really interesting question posed in the WaPo: “Is race or class the more politically significant division in the United States?”

    The article explores how discussion on race and class has been more openly voiced as a result of Trump’s candidacy…..which, is a good thing, when the commentary is civil and intelligent. Thank you, DJT for “something”.

    “Our new analysis reveals that race and class intersect in interesting ways in structuring political attitudes….race and class aren’t entirely separate; they interact in shaping attitudes.” Whether in relationship to views on the Affordable Care Act, the federal budget, or political party, race and class hew differently but consistently in polling. If nothing else, maybe all of the polling will be utilized for more than planning voter turnout – maybe it will be studied for how we can improve our social, cultural and racial interaction and understanding.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/10/12/how-do-race-ethnicity-and-class-shape-american-political-attitudes-heres-our-data/?wpisrc=nl_cage&wpmm=1

  3. V L

    I love how you wrote “relatively rational” to describe Mia Love, John Katko and Barbara Comstock. The devil’s in the relatively I guess because if your party’s renaissance starts there you are still going to have problems with many people who currently don’t support you.

    I would like to pose a question to the readers. I’m African-American and a Democrat. (I know shocking right).

    I’ve noticed many of the more lucid conservative commentators talk about the importance of connecting with minorities without actually having any real relationships with those groups.

    There are assumptions being made by what is a largely white commentariat, blogsphere and voter base about people of other races. Those assumptions seem to be where so many lists of what the next steps for the GOP should be and in many ways those assumptions are wrong.

    For example, I always hear about how conservative African-Americans supposedly are but even the most church-going, business-minded person would support the idea of “big government”.

    I say all this to ask, what connections do people here have with minority communities? I’m talking about relationships beyond being acquaintances.

    Do you have non-white friends or family members that you talk politics with?

    Do you spend any time in spaces where non-whites are the majority?

    1. I have indeed talked politics in person/ been in the minority of the group, but in my case the non-White people are Asian (by which I mean hailing from Pakistan to Korea in ancestry). My social circles are mostly defined by who I went to school with/ worked with. In my field (Biology), the demographics are very skewed that way.

      Conversing on-line expands the horizons, with the caveat that you can’t actually see who you are talking to. But it’s still illuminating and eye-opening. I’ve not been one of these people who’ve been saying “everything’s fixed now, stop complaining and move on”, but I had not realized just how much racial baggage is still out there. It’s like this recurring infection and we don’t take all the antibiotics we need to kill it.

      For most of my family, it’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell with politics. 2000 was the start of that. For the sake of peace and harmony I have retrained from all the I told you so’s that I am entitled to.

    2. VL, I have interacted with black people my entire life. Growing up in the south of my youth (I am 73) that assumed many stages. Initially, my contact was with people who worked for our family, who were, btw, loved and respected. It wasn’t until after college that I began to have black friends who I met in community projects/school board service. I enjoy and frankly need diversity of people in my life. It enriches my life and helps keep me connected to the real world. We talk about old and new problems and personal interests, just like you would do with any friend.

      If you hang out with this group long enough, I think you will be pleased with the the sensibility of the majority of people who comment. We welcome you to the discussion and look forward to sharing and growing with you.

    3. Hi VL,
      I used to have a large circle of friends through Union activity which included many people of color…when that ended it was just a couple of friends and casual acquaintances but I understand your point. In truth now that I work from home my circle is just 3 friends of color (one of whom is family) and they frankly inform most of what I know about experiences outside my immediate world.

      I feel it only fair to share you are going to bump into many Democrats here too..like me. An article that kept bringing me back to the site included the factual statement that the loss of social institutions that used to bring people together (volunteer organizations, unions, military) seem to be vanishing. If I didn’t have social obligations including family your point is valid…I’d have next to no connection to minority communities.

  4. It’s an excellent idea, and except for reducing the obscene amount of money influencing politics, nothing is more important than getting congress working in a bipartisan manner.

    I appreciate your new blog and hope some good comes if it. This said as someone who has voted reliably Democratic for years. We need you guys.

    1. To your point, Thom, “getting congress working in a bipartisan manner”, a long-time Republican operative, Bruce Bartlett, lays it all out today in a WaPo opinion piece. (Bartlett worked for many Republican officeholders, including Jack Kemp and President Ronald Reagan, for whom he was a domestic policy adviser.) With refreshing honesty, he hones in on what the real problem is in our politics today – It is the Republican Party, itself.

      Chris has written many of these same observations in posts over the years. It must be affirming (if sad) to see his observations about the destruction of the GOP being more widely acknowledged by “those inside who ‘know'”.

      “By 2022, it’s possible that Democrats will control Congress and gridlock will be broken. Once that happens, the federal government will be able to tackle major issues. The constant Republican demands for budget cuts, tax cuts and deregulation won’t be the starting points for all policy discussion.”

      There you have it. As bare bones as can be said. The Republican Party has deliberately obstructed the ability of our political governing process to work. It’s a sobering reminder that the 2016 election is about so much more than “who” wins/loses; it is about our country coming to grips with the deliberate sabotage of our democratic political process that has worked in the past, could work again, but is terribly broken. And the party that needs to be fixed? In Bartlett’s opinion, it is his party – the GOP. Sadly, he, like Chris, recognizes that first the party must implode in order to be born anew. From my humble perspective, I do not see the leadership within the Republican Party demonstrating any awareness or desire for change. Instead, they are clinging to old, tried methods that have worked for them in the past.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-end-of-trump-wont-end-the-gops-problems/2016/10/14/a45cd538-9096-11e6-9c52-0b10449e33c4_story.html?tid=pm_opinions_pop_b&utm_term=.b46ac20ed79e

  5. Looks like some of the Trumpkins are getting ready to launch Operation Scorched Earth:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Cernovich/status/785625135126421505

    Chris, what’s your sense of how much damage could happen down ballot due to this “political suicide bombing”? I’m guessing that they won’t vote Dem for Congress, but rather not vote at all.

    If they want to cut off their heads to spite their faces, I encourage them to go for it.

    1. I’m guessing the Parliament will have to wait…for the revolution.
      Seriously though, for those who “still” think Clinton is worse than Trump and his rabid followers, this guy’s a seriously bad supporter……

      I’m more concerned about the threats and dissension promised by Trump supporters than I am how many seats Dems gain by these people walking away from down ballot voting…..

      This is the kind of leadership Trump and his team promote. Does anyone have any doubt how they would govern America?

    2. Fly I think is a very optimal outcome. Not sure why then the senate races are stagnant, not showing movement with Clintons gains in the polls. I read an explanation on 538 that many people who are disgusted with Trump may still be planning to vote for Republican downticket just to keep Clinton presidency in check.

      1. I believe that the senate races will start showing some movement in the near future. All attention right now is on the war between Trump and the GOP as well as the presidential race. The recent trend has been for the senate races in a given state to break the same as the presidential race.

      2. That conforms with what I have read, as well. Still, I”ve bet Ryan a new blue scarf for Sophie and a frame for her photo if the Senate goes blue – a bet I hope Ryan wins. (He’s an incurable optimist!)

        Many GOP resources are being focused in the 6 Senate swing states to keep that body in red hands.

      3. This is the ’96 argument and there are plenty of reasons to think that that isn’t going to happen this year:

        1.) Bob Dole actually went along with this strategy and didn’t spend the last month of the campaign making life a living hell for Newt Gingrich. Trump? Not so much.

        2.) In ’96, Republicans were actually popular. They averaged pretty consistently above 50% favorable, so when they made an earnest appeal to their voters to act as a check on Bill Clinton, they agreed. Does the argument really need to be made about what kind of relationship Republicans have with their voters NOW?

        3.) Republicans haven’t just been tarnishing their brand with almost every conceivable demographic, they’re shredded it, balled it up into a giant spit wad and sent it spiraling into a pool of molten lava. A recent tweetstorm by Marybeth Glenn perfectly encapsulates how even diehard Republicans have grown disenchanted with their party and are increasingly content to just let them all go down with the ship.

        Now all of that isn’t to say that there won’t be a sizeable number of Republicans who reluctantly pull the lever for Clinton and vote for down-ballot Republicans, but the key question is whether or not those votes are outweighed many times over by those who stay home, pursue a scorched earth strategy of voting for Trump and not down-ballot, or who simply vote Democratic.

        Frankly, I don’t believe it’s even going to be close.

      4. Here’s confirmation of your thoughts Ryan from the NYT.

        “Should Mr. Trump continue deriding the leaders of the institutional Republican Party, it could have profound consequences down the ballot, potentially depressing turnout by demoralizing the party or leading Mr. Trump’s ardent supporters to deny their votes to Republicans who abandoned him. But there is little Republicans can do to control Mr. Trump’s behavior: The party’s donors have no leverage over him, he is relying largely on small donors and, at 70, he is not mindful of any future campaign.”

        There has been much conversation about the “age” of the two major presidential candidates….maybe we’ll find out that is a “good” thing….Of course, some people age poorly. They become more narrow in their thinking and mean-spirited. I think we will sadly watch this play out with one DJ Trump.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/12/us/politics/donald-trump-gop.html?

      5. Republican-leaning voters who plan to vote Clinton at the top and GOP for congressional races are making a perfectly rational decision, in my opinion. They can’t stomach voting for the vulgarian, but don’t trust Clinton and so need strong checks on her power.

      6. “They need strong checks on her power…” Isnt’ that true of politics, generally? It is also primary to my stand that the US Supreme Court not be “stacked” with liberal justices “just because they (Democrats) may have the votes to do so”. Appoint smart jurists with deep judicial experience (and ruling history as confirmation) and allow deliberation to evolve naturally and without undue bias (Scalia). That doesn’t concern me at all, even as I understand that it slows the process of reversal of heinous opinions. That will come with a quality judicial appointments at all levels of the judiciary.

        Same is true with those who are elected to Congress and POTUS. There are differences in political ideology, but those differences should be part of a vigorous debate, not sledge hammer governance – for EITHER party. Consensus matters.

        To wit, I link today’s first release of a digital news journal edited by a sitting POTUS. You go, Obama!

        https://www.wired.com/2016/10/president-obama-guest-edits-wired-essay/

    3. Viking

      I ran across this comment from a Trumpkin in the NYT. These people are living in their own little bubble.
      —————————————————————————————-
      It never ceases to astonish me just how tone deaf the American mainstream media is when it comes to the epic story unfolding right under their noses. Sadly, the blatant bias that permeates the American press has blinded it to the historic events occurring and about to occur in The United States of America. The NYT can be counted among these blind outlets of Leftwing propaganda. The NYT, et al, cling to their polls, no matter how manipulated they are. They are continually shocked by this poll or that which doesn’t meet their preconceived outcome.

      What the entire Liberal establishment and their lackeys in the MSM fail to grasp is that they are being played. That’s right, the American People are playing the Washington Cartel for a change. You have no idea how many Trump supporters there are because no one is telling you the truth. You lie to us, we lie to you, see how that works?

      So here’s a little heads up from me to you: Prepare yourselves for the shock of your careers. What is coming on November eighth will be nothing short of a revolution. Donald Trump is going to win by what could very possibly be the biggest landslide in US history. Suffice to say, there will be no questions of a recount. In fact, Hillary’s loss will be so embarrassing she’ll retire from politics to spend more time with her defense team trying to stay out of prison.

      Don’t believe me? Just watch.

    1. There used to be a lot of Republicans like John Katko not just here in NY but all over the Northeast. Its one of the reasons Northeasterners are such famous ticket splitters. We lost many of them over the last 15 years NOT because Democrats stop supporting them but because Republicans stopped supporting them and replacing them with culture warriors.

  6. I seriously doubt the viability of this, but let me put on my rose colored glasses to propose a scenario that might, maybe just work. Imagine, if you will…

    The dems are close, but not quite in control, or maybe they’re just barely there.
    They work with what’s left of the moderates, and give committee or subcommittee chairs to the opposition, with a promise to financially support them in their primaries in the next election if they act in good faith.

    They spend the next 14 months (or so) working through the backlog of needed legislation, getting out a budget on time (maybe even balanced, I do have my shades on), getting a start on reforming the tax code, starting an infrastructure bank. After each one of these, a massive news blitz touting the bipartisan effort that was required.

    Once they prove that they can govern, the opposition from the extremes can be mitigated, and additional moderates can be brought in to further strengthen the comity that is being generated.

    Of course, this is Lucy in the Sky daydreaming, but oh, it looks so nice from here.

  7. Chris, this is a very interesting concept. I would like to see something similar happen. It would be good for our democracy.

    The concept of a congress that functions more like a parliament reminds me of a book that I read years ago. In that book, California with its great population gets tired of the states with small populations dominating national politics. They band together with other populous states to seize control of Congress and somehow declare a constitutional convention, which then sets up a parliamentary government. The Speaker then becomes a prime minister. I know this is fanciful, but it did set the brain cells functioning. I forget many of the details.

    There have been times in American history when Congress did function in a bipartisan manner. That actually was true of a good portion of the Post WWII period. But then the Southern Strategy took effect and the Republican Party drifted rightward with a large dose of white nationalism. The moderate Republicans were purged from the party as RiNOS. The Hastert Rule was promulgated and Congress has become very polarized. Your postings at GOPLifer have very ably documented this change.

    For Congress to again function as a cohesive institution, the Hastert Rule will have to be junked. That will require a Republican Speaker with enough courage to face the furies of the Freedom Caucus. He or she will need the support of a large portion of the Democratic Conference. Ryan does not have the courage to do this; he is too enamored with maintaining his speakership and preserving his potential for a presidential run. That means he cannot anger the Freedom Caucus and the Trump base. On the Democratic side, I believe Pelosi would be able to do that, but would someone else? This is a good question.

    The other thing that would have to happen is the matter of Gerrymandering will have to be resolved. A Democratic Congress could well move to do something in that area. As I read the Constitution, Congress does have the power to take control of the Federal electoral process, but I am not an attorney. That is also very unlikely to happen with the present divisiveness. The Democratic Party if targeting the states to rectify the Gerrymandering problem. That has not received much attention this cycle, but there is a major effort at the state level and at least some of the states are moving towards independent redistricting commissions and top-two primaries. You can expect to see a lot of emphasis by the Democratic Party on the states in 2018 and 2020.

    Nevertheless, we can hope that some progress can be made towards a functioning Congress in the next Congress. Realistically, I expect that Ryan’s concept is more likely to prevail.

  8. No Republican in 2017 will dare go for any kind of coalition government. Almost any Republican is going to be vulnerable to primarying. Two-thirds of Republicans are on Trump’s side. Even if they survive primaries, the Trumplings are eager to punish those who transgress against Trump doctrine and they’ll be prone to lose general elections as well.

    The only Republicans who will ever cross over will be ones planning to retire to lobbying. They will be willing to cross over for debt ceiling votes and similar fate-of-the-country legislation. Otherwise, nada.

    1. If the gerrymandering issue was resolved wouldn’t the “type” of Republican candidate fielded change too? I guess my logic is running that candidates that weren’t sitting in a homogenized tribal district (always in fear of being primaried) would have to broaden their support and by default be more open to a coalition style?

      I think I understand your point Chris but the chicken and egg scenario seems to necessitate a change to redistricting first…then we get the “moderate Republicans back”.

      1. That is one of the reasons that some states have gone towards independent redistricting commissions and top-two primaries. Since the 1930s, Washington state had a blanket primary that enabled voters to vote for any candidate on the ballot. Then the top Democrat and Republican faced off in the general election. That was declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS a number of years ago. After some discussion extending over approximately 4-6 years, we finally ended up with a top-two primary. That was acceptable to SCOTUS. Generally our wide-open primary system has worked out well. The top two primary enabled our 4th District, which is very conservative to select a moderate conservative GOP representative over a TEA partier. The District Democratic party actually supported the moderate conservative as the best option in 2014. The same pattern is happening this year.

        Our redistricting commission is bipartisan and that has led to incumbent protection. It has also led to minor gerrymandering. It is much better that legislative redistricting, but redistricting by an independent commission is preferable.

        That is our experience in WA. The CA system is similar, but uses an independent commission. I am not aware of any major problems with the CA system at this time. AZ is moving in that direction as well and other states are moving that way.

      2. Do you recall the reason(s) SCOTUS ruled against a top-two election process? There are at-large positions in the Senate and in many local elections. I’m curious as to the legal justification for turning your state’s initial election modification down.

      3. As long as 2/3rds or more of Republican *voters* are on the Trump crazy train, redistricting reform is not going to help. The Trumplings will still nominate crazies for the Republicans. A top-two nonpartisan primary (jungle primary) can help, but even in deep blue, fair districted, jungle primary California we STILL get a lot of crazy Republicans.

        Redistricting reform primarily helps by making it impossible for a minority to end up with overwhelming control of the legislature, like in North Carolina.

  9. Viking

    Of course there could be a GOP schism after the election resulting in the formation of a third party. The third party could either be ultraconservative or moderate.

    The bitterness within the GOP is raw. The Freedom caucus people are very angry at Ryan for abandoning Trump, and many Trump supporters are threatening to withhold their votes for down ballot Republicans. I expect the knives will really come out in the aftermath of November 8th.

    1. It’s about time Republicans had to think more deeply about “why” they are supporting someone rather than simply falling in line. I do not fear multiple parties…green party, libertarian, ultra conservative (Freedom Caucus), moderate ( coalition of moderates from wherever), but if this is “tried” as a political process, the rules will have have to favor “ranked” voting, otherwise, it will be pandemonium.

      The Hastert Rule would die of its own because there would be no major, dominant party to enforce it. Gerrymandering would take longer to de-fang but with a balanced SCOTUS, there is a shot to challenge its legality directly. Either way, it would be better replaced by independent, balanced and/or non-partisan voting district commissions.

      As Chris has pointed out numerous times, our political institutions are broken. The real question is, will there be the political will and courage to change what’s wrong for what’s best for all citizens knowing that there will never be a perfect process, only a better functioning, more democratic model. Democracy is “messy”. It requires constant monitoring. America shouldn’t fear change that is based upon empowering greater numbers of people.

  10. We can only hope. I have always voted independently but register to a party to be able to vote in the primary. Florida is a close primary state. More and more people are reqistering independent in Florida. I think many like myself will vote against those who have gummed up the works for partisan reasons. Florida has ungerrymandered it’s districts. Expect Democrat house seats pickups here.

  11. The idea that a few current Republicans might support a centrist Democrat for Speaker of a Republican-majority House is optimistic. Like, I wonder if you hit your head on something optimistic. I can’t see any way that happens. I also doubt that a moderate GOP faction would choose to challenge Ryan. Despite Ryan’s Trumpian travails, he still commands some respect from the rank-and-file, and his budget proposals are not so ridiculous that they couldn’t be a start of negotiations.

    About the best case, in my opinion, is for the House margin to be small enough that the moderates can go to Ryan and tell him they will not be held hostage to Freedom Caucus nonsense, that they will not support holding the budgeting process hostage to fringe culture war issues or to brinksmanship. Marginalizing the Tea Partiers would be a start.

    1. I agree with you that it’s overly optimistic. I am holding out hope that moderates can gain enough ground that they can start standing up to the Freedom Caucus folks. It’s a long shot, though. Many of my local GOP friends are really digging in with the “All Democrats are really godless socialists” and “I fear for our country, because SCOTUS” rhetoric. If that’s the case across the country, the parliamentary idea is dead in the water.

      1. You know what I find intriguing, Robin? Statements that begin with: “my GOP friends” … who think “all Democrats are godless socialists”…

        Try this: ask your GOP friends if they consider you a godless socialist…They need to think more deeply about such broad condemnation. That is part of the problem, after all….It’s all those “other” people who are godless/socialists……(Not that I object to anyone being godless or socialist as their own personal business, but it is amazing how the litmus test is so judgmental and narrow.)

    2. The Freedom Caucus needs a good kick in the butt. They are entitled to pursue their “pure” agenda through normal legislative channels but they have abused the process to force concessions, and that rarely achieves anything but very short-term objectives.

      Ultimately, Ryan is going to have to “choose”. Until the process changes, he will either demonstrate statesmanship by forging consensus and alliances with the Democrats, or he will forever tie himself to the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, which is destined to fail.

      1. Mary, yes the Freedom Caucus needs a good kick in the butt. Unfortunately, I do not think Paul Ryan has the courage to do that. The Hastert Rule has to go, but Ryan is scarred to junk it. That means he will eventually fail.

      2. Paul Ryan may have greater incentive to reach out beyond his own caucus. It has been reported that Steve Bannon, Trump’s CEO, wants to “destroy Paul Ryan”. People who’ve worked with Bannon say it’s foolish to underestimate the lengths Bannon will go to destroy the GOP establishment. “He’s an instrument of destruction,” said Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart staffer who fell out with Bannon.

        “Bannon has always wanted to burn everything down,” he added, “and any chance he has to wriggle this into a way to destroy Paul Ryan, he’ll absolutely do it.”

        Welcome to the new world of Trump politics….”Put her in jail”; “destroy Paul Ryan”….

        http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/300445-exclusive-trump-campaign-ceo-wanted-to-destroy-ryan

      3. Mary, for the record, I’m technically still a Republican myself. For me it’s not about us-vs-them. It’s about “it’s increasingly acceptable to vilify others who aren’t exactly like ourselves.”

    3. Per Mike’s post that some Republicans will vote Clinton at the top of the ticket but vote GOP down ticket – There is a softening on rejection of voting for Trump. With Trump’s defiant (perceived as ‘tough’) stand at Sunday’s Town Hall debate, plus RNC Chair Reince Priebus’ hanging tight for Trump, many Republicans who reacted swiftly to un-endorse Trump following the weekend Sexgate video are now backtracking. In fact, NBC/WSJ polling suggests: “… rank-and-file Republicans who defected after the emergence of the 2005 video are coming back into the fold, too. ‘Some 83% of Republicans said in post-debate polling that they would vote for Mr. Trump in a head-to-head matchup against Mrs. Clinton, up from 60% in weekend surveys,’ Monica Langley writes in the Journal.”

      This quick reversal speaks volumes about how tenuous Clinton’s viability is with rank and file Republicans…almost as tenuous as Trump’s. Republicans really, really don’t like HRC. This election can’t be over soon enough….

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/12/opinion/campaign-stops/the-republican-inferno.html?_r=0

      1. The advice from 4 of Trump’s biographers? To a one, they described him in these terms: Trump does whatever it takes to subjugate, acquire, and exert power. “He is, the biographers said, “profoundly narcissistic,” “willing to go to lengths we’ve never seen before in order to satisfy his ego”—and “a very dangerous man for the next three or four weeks.” And after that? “This time, it’s going to be a straight‑out loss on the biggest stage he’s ever been on,” one biographer predicted. And yet: “As long as he’s remembered, maybe it won’t matter to him.”

        Let us sincerely hope they are correct about the ending. A must read.

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/donald-trump-2016-biographers-214350#ixzz4MtuF1WRo

  12. I think the likiest scenario for the House is that the Dems gain seats, but the GOP keeps a majority. But this increases the influence of the “Freedom” Caucus because they would be a greater percentage of GOP reps. So a lot rides on Paul Ryan- is he willing to work with the Dems? I would hope the fact that he won his primary so decisively would encourage him to stick his neck out a bit. If he could forge this cross-party alliances, the crazies couldn’t gum up the works so much. You can start to break free of them, Ryan, if you have a bit of spine.

    1. There are probably four factors that’ll determine if Democrats retake the House majority:

      1.) How well they do in polling relative to Republicans compared to 2012. They were already up before and recent polling shows them still on the rise, with the latest NBC/WSJ poll having them at their highest point since the ’13 shutdown.

      2.) Turnout, turnout, turnout. Republican enthusiasm for this election is falling off a cliff. Trump’s most diehard supporters will turn out no matter what, but those other Republican voters who either can’t stomach Trump or won’t turn out for lack of a sufficient ground operation will likely hurt a lot of Republicans in close races across the country, particularly given how much of an operation juggernaut Clinton’s running by comparison.

      3.) Civil War. How many of those diehard Trump supporters who turn out but don’t vote for down ballot Republicans? Trump has openly declared war on Paul Ryan. This is an unknown factor that’s going to hurt Republicans, but we can’t know how much until Election Day.

      4.) Private polling. Immediately after The Tape surfaced, Republican operatives in NY saw their brand taking a huge hit with support dropping precipitously. What kind of numbers aren’t we seeing?

      I may be reading too much into this, but Clinton seems to be enjoying a certain confidence that goes beyond a presidential win. She’s starting to talk about a governing agenda (like her talk of an expanded child tax credit) like she expects to have a Congress that agrees with her. Does she know something we don’t?

      1. I have felt for a long time that HRC’s political operation was very sophisticated and that their pollsters have a lot of information of which the public is not aware. They know where the voters are, who is likely to vote and how they are likely to vote. There will be a huge GOTV operation.

        An example of this is the CA primary. The Sanders campaign was constantly putting out info that they were going to do very well in CA. HRC did not really campaign in CA until the last few days. When the primary votes came in HRC won by double digits. The same thing happened in August when HRC was largely off the campaign trail. The national polls showed her as slipping but she did not seem concerned. Yet we have seen her bounce back, despite a bad September.

        I am constantly getting emails from the the HRC campaign and others asking me to verify that I will vote. Sometimes I respond and most of the time I delete them, simply because they also ask for money.

        So yes, I think the HRC campaign knows a lot more than we do. Chris has stated in past postings that the election will not even be close. It appears that is the case, and may be an even larger blowout than he thinks.

      2. Civil War – Trump has officially declared himself “a candidate unbound”…..”Disloyal R’s are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win – I will teach them!” he said on Twitter.

        http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/300428-trump-throws-off-shackles-with-strikes-on-gop-clinton

        We are in uncharted waters, Ryan, and the crew is about to mutiny…Question is – are the sharks in the water worse than having a captain who doesn’t know what he’s doing or where he is going?

  13. That would be a sound, pragmatic step forward in an otherwise irreparably gridlocked Congress from Republicans and Democrats. I won’t hold my breath.

    Here’s where we’re probably going. If Democrats win even a bare minimum majority in the House (a real and growing possibility in the wake of recent polling), they’re going to get to work on gerrymandering reform faster than it takes Alex Jones to sound like a whack job. They’ll go at it legislatively through whatever means and, once Clinton gets her nominee through the Senate, through the Supreme Court too.

    If we are going to see a rise in parliamentary politics, it’s likely to be through a combination of sub-parties through the emerging Democratic coalition and the rise of whatever happens through Republicans’ epic collapse. This is going to take time.

    All that said, a small, optimistic voice in the back of my head hopes that I’m wrong. Part of me truly wishes that even a small number of reasonable-minded Republicans will just say “enough” and go out on their own after November. I hold out hope, but I’m not going to invest in it.

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