[Marxism] 10-19-19 Opinion: Watch Senate Republicans. They might reach the point of no return - Washington Post

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sat Oct 19 16:49:23 MDT 2019

Opinion: Watch Senate Republicans. They might reach point of no return.
Jennifer Rubin - The Washington Post - Friday, October 18, 2019

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) responded to acting White House chief of 
staff Mick Mulvaney’s confession that Ukrainian aid was held up until 
the Ukrainian government would help him prove his cock-and-bull story 
about the Democratic National Committee server and find dirt for him on 
former vice president Joe Biden.

“Yes, absolutely that’s a concern,” Murkowski said. "You don’t hold up 
foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political 
initiative. Period.”

This suggests that a certain type of Republican (one with a modicum of 
independence, a smidgen of patriotism and/or a healthy survival 
instinct) might reach the point of no return based on Mulvaney’s 
confession and Trump’s comment in his July 25 call (he needed “a favor 
though," he told the Ukrainian president). With a stream of mid-level 
career civil servants available to attest to the holdup in aid — despite 
Mulvaney’s attempt to walk back his confession later — there can be 
little doubt of a quid pro quo, otherwise known as an extortion attempt 
by President Trump to use government funds to attain personal political 

How many Mitt Romneys and Lisa Murkowskis are out there? Well, let’s 
look at some polling. Morning Consult finds that “Republicans 
representing Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine and Iowa all saw 
their net approval — the share of voters who approve of a senator’s job 
performance minus the share who disapprove — decline between the second 
and third quarters of 2019.” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner 
(R-Colo.), who could not manage to tell us whether it is wrong for the 
president to enlist a foreign government to influence our elections, are 
down 9 points and 3 points, respectively.

Ernst is in particular trouble. “The slide places her underwater with 
Iowa voters (39 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove) for the first 
time and among the 10 most unpopular senators in the country,” the polls 
found. “Iowa voters of all partisan leanings soured on the first-term 
senator, but GOP voters were most likely to take a dimmer view of her 
job performance. Her net approval dropped by 13 points among 
Republicans, compared with respective 9- and 7-point drops among 
Democrats and independents.” Uh-oh.

Ernst is not alone. “Ernst is not the only Republican up for re-election 
next year with a home-state approval below 40 percent: Among the 
vulnerable incumbents, Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of 
Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are all below that threshold 
following a quarter where each saw little movement.”

Meanwhile, vulnerable Democratic incumbents are rising in polls. Sens. 
Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) are up 1 points and 3 
points, respectively. If these sort of numbers persist, or get even 
worse for Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will lose his majority.

McConnell, infamous for his shameless, ice-water-in-his-veins brand of 
politics, will do whatever he must to save his members. If that means 
shoving Trump off-stage, he will gladly do it. (Notice his especially 
tough condemnation of Trump’s Syria debacle.)

A mound of evidence of plainly impeachable conduct. A GOP majority at 
risk. One could reasonably expect to see indications that a significant 
number of Republican senators would kick Trump to the curb to save their 
own necks and the GOP Senate majority. The game of chicken (“Resign, or 
we vote to remove you!”) might begin in earnest. Alternatively, Trump 
could decide that he has accomplished more in three years than any other 
president accomplished in eight (the best ever!). Why not retire early, 
grab a pardon from Mike Pence and spend all his time golfing? It is not 
as far-fetched as it used to be.

"Ppoint of no return." Maybe so, but the numbers aren't stated here - 
it'd take 20 Republicans (with 45 Dems plus 2 Independents) to impeach. 
And it depends on how rational Trump is as it plays out, a real unknown. 
Could he grow cold feet and resign with compromise agreement not to 
prosecute him and his family? As did Nixon? One thing, since Nixon the 
political climate has grown more cynical and as apathy has grown the bar 
for conduct in office seems much lower, while Trump appears to thrive on 
risk and the thrill of it all, and is in many ways a one-off. More tea 
leaves but not much more probability.

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