Republicans Stay Silent as Trump Destroys the Party

Matt Bai: “Whatever his impact may be on the country or the world, Donald Trump’s presidency imperils the future of his party, and there isn’t a serious-minded Republican in Washington who would tell you otherwise, privately.”

“Trump doesn’t care what happens to Republicans after he’s gone. The party was always like an Uber to him — a way to get from point A to point B without having to find some other route or expend any cash.”

“Which leads to the question I hear all the time these days. Why aren’t more Republicans separating themselves from Trump? And why aren’t they doing more with the power they have to get in his way?”

Key takeaway: “The real fear for most elected officials in Washington isn’t that they may say something to offend persuadable voters… No, the fear now, if you’re sitting on either end of the Capitol, is that some no-name activist will decide to primary you, because you’ve somehow run afoul of extremists with followings on Twitter and Facebook, and you’ll have to spend all your time and money holding onto a job that you might very well lose, since it takes only one fringe group or millionaire and a few thousand angry voters to tip the balance in your average congressional primary.”

How Hitler Used Lies

Charles Blow: “It is a commonly accepted rule among those who are in the business of argument, especially online, that he or she who invokes Adolf Hitler, either in oratory or essays, automatically forfeits the argument.”

“That said, there are strategies that Hitler used to secure power and rise — things that allowed his murderous reign — that can teach us about political theory and practice. And very reasonable and sage comparisons can be drawn between Hitler’s strategies and those of others.”

“Trump is no Hitler, but the way he has manipulated the American people with outrageous lies, stacked one on top of the other, has an eerie historical resonance. Demagogy has a fixed design.”

How Trump Is Poisoning World Trade

Edward Luce: “How many poison pills does it take to kill a trade deal? Three, according to Donald Trump. Mexico and Canada are bending over backwards to preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement. But their tolerance for Mr Trump’s demands is wearing thin. It seems a matter of time before he declares America’s exit from ‘the worst trade deal ever.’ The temptation to withdraw from the World Trade Organization will grow as Mr Trump’s term wears on. Anyone who thinks he has dropped his vow to rip up the global trading system has not been paying attention.”

“Such tactics are the opposite of the art-of-the-deal image Mr Trump has spun. According to that playbook, Mr Trump opens with extravagant demands that force his counterparties to improve their offers. The final deal is far better than had he begun with a realistic gambit. Yet when Mr Trump refuses to dilute his outrageous opening offer, the suspicion arises that he never wanted a deal. That, indeed, has been his approach to almost every negotiation.”

Axios: The industries at risk if Trump quits NAFTA

How Roy Moore Fits Into Bannon’s War on the GOP

Time: “Moore is not only a culture warrior. He is a populist Christian and a soldier in the larger Republican revolution that is rooted in frustration with Washington and prizes anti-establishment anger over all else. The same uprising that carried President Donald Trump into the White House looks poised to deliver an even more disruptive figure, one the party cannot control…. And the revolution is about to spread well beyond Dixie. Its field general, former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, says he is recruiting a slate of insurgent outsiders who will vow to topple the Republican ruling class.”

“Bannon’s strategy is to knit together a disparate coalition, from evangelical populists to small-government libertarians, to take on the proverbial swamp. Already Bannon is jetting around the U.S., meeting with major Republican donors in a bid to convince them to defect from McConnell’s team…. If Moore loses in December, it would shave the party’s cushion in the upper chamber to a single vote—which means there is an outside chance that Moore’s rise and Bannon’s crusade could cost the party control of the Senate, giving Democrats the numbers, and the subpoena power, to thwart every aspect of Trump’s agenda. And in the much more likely event that Moore wins, the Senate is about to become harder to govern—if that’s possible.”

Letters from a Young Obama

Associated Press: “The nine full letters, sent by Obama to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, are being made public to researchers through Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. The university has had the letters since 2014 but could only make them public now, officials said.”

“Written in the 1980s, the letters give a peek into Obama’s psyche as he sought out the path that would eventually land him in the White House as the United States’ first black president.”

The Sideshow President

President Trump “was expected to spend the fall pushing his ambitious tax reform agenda and helping devastated regions in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes,” Politico reports.

“Instead, over a period of three weeks, Trump has hammered the NFL into submission over the national anthem protests, repeatedly attacked the “fake news” media and now reopened a fight over his — and his predecessor’s — handling of Gold Star families.”

“But these seeming distractions are the president’s substance — and the legislative agenda his predecessors have approached with a singular focus is, for him, largely a diversion.”

Democrats Have Nearly Every Advantage In Virginia

First Read lists five reasons why Democrats have a big edge in Virginia’s gubernatorial race:

  1. Trump: The current president’s job-approval rating in the state is in the 30s, and remember that Trump lost this state to Hillary Clinton by 5 points on his best day of the general election.
  2. History: With just one exception (in 2013 when Terry McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli), the party that controls the White House has lost every gubernatorial election in Virginia going back to the 1970s.
  3. GOP’s poor performance in Virginia: Since 2005, Democrats are 9-1 in major statewide elections in Virginia (for president, Senate, governor).
  4. Cash: Northam is outraising Republican opponent Ed Gillespie, which is stunning given Gillespie’s background as a former RNC chair and lobbyist.
  5. The advertising war: And Northam is also outspending Gillespie on the TV airwaves, while party spending is about even (see below for more on that).

But they note Gillespie does have one important advantage in this race: Democrats in Virginia don’t turn out as well in non-presidential years.

Bipartisan Health Bill Not Dead Yet

Sam Baker: “Yes, the Senate’s bipartisan Affordable Care Act bill ran into some political roadblocks yesterday. The White House said President Trump, who had taken several positions over the course of the day, is against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan is also against it. And conservatives are against it.”

“The story of the Alexander-Murray bill likely won’t be over until December, when Congress has to take care of several must-pass bills, in negotiations where Democrats have a lot of leverage. The December agenda already includes funding the government and raising the debt ceiling — must-pass items that can only pass with a lot of Democratic votes, just like Alexander-Murray.”

GOP Senators Press McConnell for 24/7 Senate

Nine Republican senators have signed a letter to Mitch McConnell calling on him to “turn the Senate on full time, 24/7, to advance the president’s agenda,” Axios reports.

The senators write that “perversion of Senate rules” by Democrats, “designed to imperil” President Trump’s agenda, necessitates the step.

Trump Says He Wants Bipartisan Tax Reform Process

“President Trump suggested at a meeting with senators that the Senate create a bipartisan working group for tax reform, surprising Republicans who’ve been planning to pass a party-line bill,” Politico reports.

“While everyone in the room nodded along with Trump’s hopes for bipartisanship, there was no agreement among senators to actually create such a group, which is viewed by some Republicans as redundant to the existing Finance Committee.”

Playbook: “The ship has sailed on a bipartisan tax overhaul. Republicans have been working for months on their proposal. This does highlight, though, the reason Republicans are skittish about working with the president. You never know what he’ll do.”

Senior Republican Plans to Quit Early

New York Times: “In a sign of mounting frustration among Republicans in Washington, Representative Pat Tiberi of Ohio, a senior lawmaker with close ties to his party’s leaders, is expected to resign and take up an executive post with a business group in his home state.”

“Mr. Tiberi, 54, could announce his plan to leave Congress as soon as this week, Republican officials said, though it is unclear when he intends to vacate his seat. Two Republicans who were briefed on Mr. Tiberi’s decision said he had indicated that he plans to join the Ohio Business Roundtable.”

Playbook: “It would be stunning — and quite the statement — if he leaves before tax reform is done.”

Bannon’s Motley Crew of Challengers

Wall Street Journal: “Steve Bannon, the failed presidential adviser and alt-right sympathizer, has declared war on incumbent Republicans, particularly Sen. Mitch McConnell. From his perch at Breitbart, Mr. Bannon is vowing to defeat officeholders who back Mr. McConnell as majority leader or who won’t sign onto Mr. Bannon’s populist agenda. So what kind of challengers is Mr. Bannon marshaling for the midterms?”

“One is fresh out of prison. Another held a town hall to discuss ‘chemtrail’ theories… In open seats or races with Democratic incumbents, Mr. Bannon is backing consensus mainstream candidates.”

Shakeup at the DNC

“A shakeup is underway at the Democratic National Committee as several key longtime officials have lost their posts, exposing a still-raw rift in the party and igniting anger among those in its progressive wing who see retaliation for their opposition to DNC Chairman Tom Perez,” NBC News reports.

“The ousters come ahead of the DNC’s first meeting, in Las Vegas, Nevada, since Perez took over as chairman with a pledge earlier this year that he would unite the party that had become badly divided during the brutal Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton 2016 primary.”