There are doom and gloom stories galore popping up all around the media universe concerning the Trump administration’s proposal for a budget. To the extent these stories report on the words contained in this document, they are likely correct.
Words and actions are two different things, and the budget proposal advanced by the White House will never see the light of day in Congress.
The same is true for the much-ballyhooed gazillion dollar infrastructure plan. It ain’t gonna happen.
As Jonathan Swain and Caitlin Owens say in Axios:
Readers should file both documents under the genre of “science fiction.” The budget is dead on arrival because presidential budgets are always dead on arrival, and the infrastructure plan appears to be dead on arrival because of a larger crisis facing the party.
The administration’s $4.4 trillion spending plan for FY 2019 is irrelevant because Congress has already decided on spending via a massive bipartisan budget deal announced by Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer.
The infrastructure plan would either force states to find a super-majority of funds for caring for federal structures or hand them off to private companies. It suggests raising the Federal tax on gasoline (an idea destined to die in committee) and cutting funding from elsewhere in the budget, including some existing infrastructure programs.
In short, what we’re looking at is simply window dressing from an administration praying for no more bad news.
Republicans are hoping the mythology surrounding their legislation enabling an upward transfer of wealth, also known as the tax plan, will survive long enough to get them through the mid-term elections.
The fear of voter retribution for all their tomfoolery is very real, even for Republicans in traditionally red states.
Senator Ted Cruz, according to the Texas Tribune, warned Republicans at the Bend County Lincoln-Reagan dinner this past weekend:
Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up. They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote.
What this means in real terms is legislative actions will take a back seat to Trumpian divisiveness as a means of driving the GOP base.
This time I’m (partially–there’s more) quoting Mike Allen and Jonathan Swain at Axios:
The state of play: With the House in danger in November’s midterms, a Republican close to the White House tells me this is a year for pumping Trump’s base on taxes, economic growth and the wall (or the fight for the wall), “while the Dems help with focus on immigrants. For Rs, this is a year to avoid losing.”
So ignore the documents and blather today. Here’s Trump’s real plan for ’18:
- A source close to the White House tells me that with an eye to getting Republicans excited about voting for Republicans in midterms, the president this year will be looking for “unexpected cultural flashpoints” — like the NFL and kneeling — that he can latch onto in person and on Twitter.
- The source said Trump “is going to be looking for opportunities to stir up the base, more than focusing on any particular legislation or issue.”
The GOP’s structural advantages of Gerrymandering and voter suppression in upcoming elections are somewhat balanced by significant court decisions in several states, along with the three dozen-plus retirements announced by party stalwarts in the past few months.
A local angle to all this concern has to be Rep. Duncan Hunter’s 50th District. Unless he can be talked into resigning in the next couple of weeks, the incumbent’s legal problems are creating uncertainty in an otherwise solidly red district.
Scott Lay’s well-regarded analysis in The Nooner now has CA50 as a “Toss-Up”
This is a fundamentally safe Republican district on paper. Trump beat Clinton here by 16 points, Kashkari over Brown in 2014 by 28 points, and Hunter won re-election by 27 points in 2016. However, candidates matter. I make the change based on year-end financial reports and a story this week by Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan for Politico.
As always, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over, and Democratic-leaning voters are famous for electing Republicans by staying home.
Finally, here’s Laura Clawson at Daily Kos:
Make no mistake, Republicans still have a big advantage—Democrats could still get many more votes than Republicans without retaking the House. But Democrats are going into these midterm elections with momentum and a motivated base, while Republicans are going into it with an unpopular president and a raft of retirements. It’s time to fight for it.
He’d rather troll us than govern. While @ThePlumLineGS writes that the infrastructure plan is a cronyist scam, he notes that Trump’s real goal in 2018 will be actively looking for the next opportunity to spark a culture war. So, just like 2017, but worse. https://t.co/28nWLox9cs
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 12, 2018
Jeff Sessions did a speech and said “the office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.” He wanted to go on record with the ANGLO-AMERICAN description. He went full white supremacy, and every Black and non-white sheriff should be insulted pic.twitter.com/F0PYS5j7es
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) February 12, 2018
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