At Risk Lawmakers Avoid Town Halls

“Most Republicans in swing districts are steering clear of in-person town hall gatherings this week, hoping to avoid the anti-President Trump protesters determined to make them the star of a viral YouTube video,” The Hill reports.

“It’s a safer strategy, but one that comes with a political risk: Democrats are mocking Republicans for running away from their constituents as their party seeks to gut ObamaCare, build a border wall and temporarily ban travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.”

Politico: GOP lessons from the latest round of brutal town halls.

Ellison Holds Edge In DNC Race

“As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates,” The Hill reports.

“Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.”

President Trump on Twitter: “One thing I will say about Rep. Keith Ellison, in his fight to lead the DNC, is that he was the one who predicted early that I would win!”

Politico: Howard Dean endorses Pete Buttigieg for DNC chairman.

Donald Trump Is Inescapable

Farhad Manjoo: “I spent last week ignoring President Trump. Although I am ordinarily a politics junkie, I didn’t read, watch or listen to a single story about anything having to do with our 45th president.”

“But as the week wore on, I discovered several truths about our digital media ecosystem. Coverage of Mr. Trump may eclipse that of any single human being ever. The reasons have as much to do with him as the way social media amplifies every big story until it swallows the world. And as important as covering the president may be, I began to wonder if we were overdosing on Trump news, to the exclusion of everything else.”

Trump Owns 3,643 Domain Names

“Before he reached the White House, Trump’s company had laid claim to at least 3,643 website domains,” according to internet records gathered by CNNMoney.

Washington Post: “The bulk of the names are not surprising. DonaldTrumpRoomFragrance.com, CelebrityApprenticePoker.com and Trump.cheap are the sort of sites you’d want to reserve if you, too, owned an octopus-like consortium of restaurants, casinos, real estate, perfumes, steaks, wines, companies and brands of every kind. But what’s TrumpArmy.com about?”

U.S. Will Deport Even Non-Mexicans to Mexico

ProPublica: “Buried deep in the Trump administration’s plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico — new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.”

“If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.”

GOP Wants Elizabeth Warren as Face of the Democrats

Politico: “Party strategists believe the liberal Massachusetts senator’s brand of politics is a serious turnoff to voters outside the coasts — and will be a liability for at least five Democrats up for reelection in states President Donald Trump easily won. So Republicans are already making plans to raise her profile — in the worst way possible — ahead of the 2018 midterms.”

“Republicans have long tried to personalize off-year election cycles, driving a wedge between vulnerable incumbents and their lightning-rod leaders. In 2010, the GOP spent $75 million on advertisements featuring then-House speaker Pelosi. To a lesser degree they tried it again in 2014 with Reid, the Democratic Senate leader, who was often featured with Obama. Both GOP wave elections were cast as referendums on Obama.”

Gillibrand Predicts Gorsuch Will Be Confirmed

One way or another, Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) predicted, Politico reports.

“The New York Democrat said either Gorsuch will garner 60 votes or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will rewrite the Senate rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority. It’s a rare concession that Republicans will win what’s shaping up to be a vicious fight between a Democratic base urging party leaders to fight President Donald Trump’s pick and Republicans who have said they will confirm Gorsuch by any means necessary.”

Big Majority Is Worried the U.S. Will Get Into a Major War

A new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll finds that 66% of Americans are worried that the United States will become engaged in a major war in the next four years while 33% are not worried.

Other interesting findings:

  • 43% of Americans approve of the job President Trump is doing, 54% disapprove
  • 31% are angry about the way the federal government is working, 42% are dissatisfied but not angry, 18% are satisfied but not enthusiastic and 7% are enthusiastic about the way the government is working
  • 62% think the U.S. should take into account the interests of its allies even if it means making compromises with them, 34% think the U.S. should follow its own national interests even when its allies strongly disagree
  • 80% said being a member of NATO is good for the United States, 15% said being a member is bad for the U.S.
  • 50% approve of President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and 47% disapprove
  • 60% have confidence in the judicial system, 39% said they don’t have confidence
  • 52% have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act and 45% have an unfavorable view

GOP Ignores Protests At Its Peril

Rich Lowry: “It’s beginning to look like August 2009 in reverse. In that summer of the Tea Party, conservative activists packed the town-hall meetings of Democratic congressmen and peppered them with hostile questions. It was an early sign of the abiding opposition that Obamacare would encounter, and the prelude to Democratic defeats in 2010, 2014, and 2016. Now, progressive activists are tearing a page from that playbook.”

“The scenes are highly reminiscent of 2009, with Republican officeholders struggling to control unruly forums and leaving their town-hall meetings early or not holding them in the first place.”

“The partisan temptation in this circumstance is always to dismiss the passion of the other side, which is what Democrats did to their detriment in 2009 and Republicans are doing now.”

Trump Would Reconsider Bannon’s Role If Asked

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that if President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser wanted to remove chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council’s principals committee, the president would “take that under serious consideration,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Spicer: “The president has made clear to him he’s got full authority to structure the national security team the way he wants.”

GOP Lawmaker Defends Trump Before Rowdy Crowd

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) “fended off a crowd of protesters at a town hall Tuesday, trying to assure a rowdy audience that he doesn’t fall in line with President Trump on every issue,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Said Carter: “I am not here to tell you Donald Trump is perfect. I am not here to tell you I agree with everything he has done. Those of you who have studied the Bible know that God has used imperfect people to do great things before.”

Russian Diplomat’s Death Needs More Study

“The cause and manner of death of Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations needs to be studied further, the city medical examiner said Tuesday, a day after the diplomat fell ill at his office at Russia’s U.N. mission and died at a hospital,” CBS News reports.

“Further study usually includes toxicology and other screenings, which can take weeks. The case was referred to the medical examiner’s office by the hospital.”

Most Trump Voters See Media as the Enemy

A narrow majority of President Trump’s supporters agree with him that the media is their enemy, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, although most Americans overall don’t feel similarly.

“Most Trump voters, 51%, say the media is an enemy to people like them, according to the poll, with 36% considering the media unfriendly, and just 5% saying it’s friendly or an ally. Overall, 22% of Americans consider the media an enemy to people like them, with 19% saying it’s unfriendly, 21% that it’s friendly, and 14% that it’s an ally.”