Monday, November 14, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: 12 Notes From a Political Autopsy


Voters across demographic lines want to change the system. They deserve a clearly presented program for ending the rule of big-money politics, building a fairer economy, and ensuring decent living conditions for every American. Incremental change is no longer enough. Democrats need to think big.
Timely book on Populism. Timely discussion on Tuesday.
As the epic election was ending, journalist John Judis published “The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics,” explaining the left populism of Bernie Sanders and the right-wing populism of Trump.
Campaign for America’s Future and the AFL-CIO will sponsor a book discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12 p.m. AFL-CIO. CAF’s Roger Hickey will introduce Judis. Click here for details.


DNC chair race begins battle for direction of party. AP: “The Democratic National Committee, the last bastion of party power in Washington, is quickly emerging as ground zero for the fight … Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a prominent progressive and the first Muslim elected to Congress, has emerged as an early contender, backed by much of the party’s liberal wing … Others are pushing for a Latino leader, arguing that the growing demographic group is crucial to the party’s future …”
The Nation’s John Nichols makes the case for Ellison to helm DNC: “The DNC needs a chair who has an intersectional and activist organizing vision like that of former Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone … He has spoken not just to Sanders backers but also to key Clinton backers, to insiders and outsiders. And he has talked a lot about the Wellstone model of constant, at-the-grassroots organizing rather than a politics of money and poll-tested talking points. But Ellison is also talking about Wellstone’s other ingredient of democratic renewal: good public policy that is clearly distinguished from the conservative agenda.”
“Democrats Need a Tea Party of the Left” says TNR’s Eric Sasson: “What we need instead is a movement that builds upon the steadfast devotion of Sanders’s supporters, one that can arise from the bottom and give people a chance to feel like they have the power to make a difference … A Trump presidency leaves us with no choice but to wake up and engage with politics in a way similar to that of the Tea Party.”
Democrats debate over how to position themselves on economic issues. NYT: “…they are divided over how aggressively to position themselves on the economic left, with battle lines already forming over the lightning-rod issue of foreign trade … Over President Obama’s two terms, Democrats have embraced a down-the-line cultural liberalism that energized his coalition of millennials, minorities and college-educated whites … without rebuking the still-popular president directly, there is a growing recognition among many Democrats that Mr. Obama’s way may not be the best course in a country where many voters have experienced little income growth and where high-paying jobs can be scarce.”
The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman questions whether Democrats could have won back white working-class:Hillary Clinton could have kidnapped every one of those voters and forced them to listen to her read her plan for paid family leave, and it wouldn’t have made a difference, because Trump was reaching them on a much more visceral level.”
Warren, Sanders send signals of compromise and confrontation. The Hill: “For now, both are at least making sounds of compromise toward Trump. But it’s clear that sentiment is heavily layered with skepticism, and a vow to fight hard where they differ … the message from liberals in Congress has been that if Trump wants to pursue policies they believe will aid working Americans, they won’t resist out of purely partisan motives. But they’re not counting on it…”
Dems hope to divide GOP. Politico: “Their thinking: Exploit the inevitable divisions between Trump and the increasingly conservative GOP leadership over tax policy, infrastructure spending and possibly social issues. And Senate Democrats hope to use the filibuster — the only real leverage they have to stymie Trump and congressional Republicans — sparingly. While it might seem like wishful thinking for Democrats to think they can do an end run around a Congress firmly under Republican control, Democrats say they could envision cutting deals with Trump on passing a public works package, killing the ‘carried interest’ loophole, and cracking down on currency manipulation by China. Many conservatives oppose all those proposals.”


Trump faces backlash to choice of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. NBC News: “Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart espoused anti-Semitic and nationalist views. The site faced regular criticism … for its close ties to the ‘alt right,’ an online-based counterculture movement associated with white nationalism. There was no shortage of reaction to Bannon’s ascension to the West Wing.”
Trump Chief of Staff pick Reince Priebus defends Bannon. Politico: “Priebus was asked Monday morning if the ideology of Breitbart, which has published stories headlined ‘There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews,’ ‘birth control makes women unattractive and crazy’ and ‘Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew,’ will arrive at the White House with Bannon. ‘The guy I know is a guy that isn’t any of those things,’ Priebus said on NBC’s ‘Today’ … noting that Bannon’s byline had not appeared on any of the controversial articles even though he was overseeing the website at the time.”
Priebus and Bannon may not work well together. Politico: “‘Trump likes to have his subordinates battle it out — but this is something else,’ said one senior Republican party official friendly with Priebus. ‘This is either going to be “Team of Rivals” or “Hunger Games” — or maybe both.’ … Priebus is close to the squeaky-clean and policy-obsessed House speaker … Bannon railed against Ryan as ‘the enemy’ and claimed his policies were aimed at creating ‘a one world government,’…”


Don’t expect a market crash, says NYT’s Paul Krugman: “…predictions that Trumpist tariffs will cause a recession never made sense: Yes, we’ll export less, but we’ll also import less, and the overall effect on jobs will be more or less a wash … handing out windfalls to rich people and companies that will probably sit on a lot of the money is a bad, low-bang-for-the-buck way to boost the economy, and I have my doubts about whether the promised surge in infrastructure spending will really happen. But an accidental, badly designed stimulus would still, in the short run, be better than no stimulus at all.”
Or soar then crash. Politico: “The result could be a stimulative blast that fires up faster growth followed by an inflationary disaster … some economists worry that Trump will feel political pressure to deliver on his pledges to immediately slap tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports, possibly sparking trade wars before any of his stimulative policies can work their way through Congress. That would take away even the short-term sugar high nature of Trump’s plan.”
Trump speaks with Chinese president. NYT: “In the phone call, which took place on Monday Beijing time, the two men agreed to maintain close communications and to meet at an early date. Despite the optimistic tone, analysts believe the relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi could grow tense if Mr. Trump follows through on his campaign promises, including a vow to impose a 45 percent tax on Chinese imports.”


Trump seeks to exit climate agreement. Reuters: “President-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the United States from a global accord to combat climate change … The accord says in its Article 28 that any country wanting to pull out after signing on has to wait four years. In theory, the earliest date for withdrawal would be Nov. 4, 2020 … The source said the future Trump administration is weighing alternatives to accelerate the pull-out [such as] sending a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord that is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement … [That] would be controversial, partly because it was signed by former Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and approved by the U.S. Senate.”
“Global Warming Nears Tipping Point” notes Bloomberg: “Global temperatures continue to shatter records this year, rising to within less than one degree of the level that scientists say would be catastrophic, according to the United Nations.


Trump adjusts immigration plan. AP: “…Trump said Sunday he would accept a fence in some places along the U.S. southern border where he had promised to build a wall … During his campaign he insisted he would deport 11 million people … [Sunday] Trump said he’s willing to deport or incarcerate 2 million to 3 million people living in the country illegally who ‘are criminal and have criminal records…'”
Trump’s immigrant numbers are wrong. Mashable “His claim that 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants have criminal records comes from a 2013 report by the Department of Homeland Security … That figure refers to a broader group of people that includes not just unauthorized immigrants but also people who are lawful permanent residents or those with temporary visas … The actual number of undocumented people with criminal convictions might be closer to about 820,000 individuals.. The Obama administration [already] deported more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders between 2009 and 2015 …”


Trump surrounds himself with lobbyists. Salon’s Gary Legum: “… look at … Friday’s press release, in which he announced a series of additions to the [transition] team’s Executive Committee … You couldn’t find a more comprehensive group of Republican has-beens and reprobates if you turned over every rock on a Superfund site.”
Trump shrugs on 60 Minutes: “That’s the only people you have down there … Everybody’s a lobbyist down there … everybody that works for government, they then leave government and they become a lobbyist, essentially. I mean, the whole place is one big lobbyist … I’m saying that they know the system right now, but we’re going to phase that out.”
What will Trump do on Day 1? NYT: “…if he follows through on his campaign promises for what he will do on his first day in office … he will redirect immigration enforcement, alter trade relations with China and other nations, relax restrictions on energy production, impose new rules on lobbyists, halt efforts to combat global warming, lift curbs on guns, push for congressional term limits and demand a new strategy for defeating the Islamic State. He may face some legal and procedural hurdles, but most of his Day 1 pledges involve issuing presidential directives, executive orders or memorandums that do not need legislative approval.”
Trump will boost charter schools, says Rudy Giuliani. NY Post: “‘We’ve spoken about it. Donald is going to create incentives for that promote and open more charter schools. It’s a priority,’ said Giuliani … Trump’s plan would redirect money from the federal budget to create the $20 billion school choice block grant.”

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