Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The Chaos of an election day as Conor Lamb wins

Note this back and forth:


Trump is assembling an all-star suck-up team to assist him blowing up the world. What could possibly go wrong?


More on Pelosi, and PA-18, below.

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Bad news for Trump is brewing in Pennsylvania

In the race’s final days, much of the GOP’s messaging appears focused not so much on the Trump/GOP tax cuts, or even on Trump’s tariffs, but rather on immigration, crime and Nancy Pelosi. An outside group allied with the House GOP recently launched spots slamming Democrat Conor Lamb as a “Pelosi liberal” and for allegedly supporting “sanctuary cities and amnesty for illegals.” The National Republican Congressional Committee has recently released ads that slam Lamb, a former prosecutor, as soft on gun traffickers. A super PAC allied with Trump has an ad that mentions the tax cuts but talks more about “Pelosi liberals.”

Here’s the effect:


GOP strategist:







Walter Shapiro/Guardian:

Why it’s time for Democrats to ditch Nancy Pelosi

The House Democratic leader is both unpopular and extremely well known. That’s a lethal combination in politics

When you are running as a Democrat in Donald Trump country, the name Nancy Pelosi is even more toxic than the letters CNN.

In one of the more powerful TV ads in the run-up to Tuesday’s special House election in western Pennsylvania, the Democrat Conor Lamb earnestly declares: “My opponent wants you to believe that the biggest issue in this campaign is Nancy Pelosi. It’s all a big lie. I’ve already said … that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi.”

The Pennsylvania contest is largely symbolic since the district (which Trump carried by nearly 20% points in 2016) will disappear into the mists like Brigadoon when a new statewide redistricting plan takes effect. But from a splenetic Trump rally on Saturday night to a recent appearance by Joe Biden on behalf of Lamb, both parties are treating this race as if it were a dry run for November.

Which brings us back to the Democrats’ Nancy Pelosi problem.


The above is a good piece and a good debate. 

They left out the part where the robodog gets up and uses its eye lasers to fry the banana skin to a crisp.

Drew Altman/Axios:

Red-state changes could strengthen ACA, Medicaid

What to watch: As they come to own the changes they have made, Republican governors and legislative leaders could resist any future GOP efforts in Washington to repeal the ACA or drastically cut or change Medicaid. And they could move the opinions of donors and Republicans in their states as they talk up what they have done at home.

The impact: As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported recently, the ACA achieved its highest rating in February in our 86 tracking polls, with 54% of the public giving the ACA a favorable rating. But Republican opinion on the ACA has remained stubbornly negative, with 78% of Republicans giving the law an unfavorable rating in the same poll.

Assuming Republican state leaders want to put the best face on their changes with their voters, Republican views of the ACA could start to move in a more positive direction in Idaho, or Iowa, or in other states that may do similar things now that they believe the Trump administration will give them more leeway.  

Democrats, advocates and liberals will continue to resist red state strategies and waivers they believe are harmful. Conservatives in red states will pursue changes they want to make to the ACA and Medicaid. That is how our system works. The end result, which won’t make either side happy, could well be a broader political constituency for both the ACA and Medicaid.



Philip Bump/WaPo:

Why it was so easy for ‘60 Minutes’ to rebut Betsy DeVos’s charter-school arguments

“Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?” Stahl asked. Michigan is a key litmus test because it’s the place where DeVos’s pre-government advocacy was centered. DeVos stumbled over a response.

“Your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan,” Stahl said. “Where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.” She later added, “The public schools here are doing worse than they did.”

DeVos didn’t have much of a response except to point to “pockets” where schools had improved (without identifying any).

There are only two reasons that DeVos might not have been able to defend her position when confronted with the example of her home state. One is that she was simply unprepared for the interview and didn’t have a team in place that could have ensured she was ready for an inevitable line of inquisition from Stahl.

The other is that DeVos’s case isn’t as clear-cut as she presented it.

Such a nice way of putting it.

On today’s school walk out to support Parkland some docs talked guns on twitter:



What legal rights do students really have to protest during the school day?

On Wednesday, students across the country are planning to walk out of class for 17 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m., to protest gun violence and urge lawmakers to pass gun control measures.

The 17 minutes is to mark the lives of the 17 people killed by a gunman on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. Young people around the country have pledged to participate, sometimes with support from school administrators. A few other marches have been called in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shootings, including one by student survivors.

Here is what the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit organization that works to defend individual rights, says students can and cannot do regarding protests during school hours — and what they can expect if they violate school rules:


Dan Drezner/WaPo:

Tillerson’s legacy will be as one of the most ineffective secretaries of state in modern history. Spoiler Alerts has written a fair amount about Tillerson’s incompetence and ineffectiveness as secretary of state. He was so incompetent that I called for him to resign in August. I would wager that everything I said in that column holds with greater force today. His influence within the administration waned over time. His proposed redesign of the State Department was botched, and botched badly. His incompetent management of Foggy Bottom helped trigger an exodus of seasoned Foreign Service officers and crushed morale among the remaining diplomats. It seemed as though he could not visit a region without saying something that offended his hosts. There is no signature idea or doctrine or accomplishment that Tillerson can point to as part of his legacy. He was woefully unprepared for the job on Day One and barely moved down the learning curve. His incompetence undercut his ability to advance any worthwhile policy instinct.

For the kids, click here.

Want to see the new House Intelligence committee D memo? Here it isStatus of the Russia Investigation (.pdf)

Paul Brandus/USA today:

Donald Trump hired and fired Rex Tillerson for all the wrong reasons

Tillerson’s tenure, less than 14 months, was the shortest of any secretary of State in three-quarters of a century (and that’s only because Harry Truman, who became president after the sudden death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, wanted his own man). And the manner in which Tillerson learned of his dismissal — via Twitter — is beyond tacky.

Trump supporters love how he does everything differently, but I say not having the class and common decency to fire someone that senior in person, or at least on the phone, is nothing to admire. We look to our presidents to set a higher example; to behave in a way that makes us proud. A president represents us to the rest of the world. Yet Donald Trump, each day, lowers the bar with his rude, petty and boorish behavior.

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