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The Saffron Don by @BloggersRUs

The Saffron Don

by Tom Sullivan

Amidst worries that the White House in concert with its Murdoch-media enablers are stockpiling rhetorical weapons for the final assault on Robert Mueller, Walter Shapiro offers a couple little rays of sunshine. It's been a tough week. You need them.

"Right now ... we are unbeatable, we are unbeatable,” the sitting president told 400 donors at Cipriani restaurant on 42nd Street in New York. That's some mighty big boasting from a New Yorker who rose to prominence about the same time as another infamous "Don" ("I bet ya 3 to 1 I beat this.") from the Big Apple. It is the stock market and jobs numbers that make him invincible, he boasted. But Shapiro writes that other numbers point to "not so much":

Mitch McConnell's rush to ram the tax-break bill through the Senate was another sign of weakness since it was predicated on fears that Democrat Doug Jones would win the December 12 special election in Alabama. Even though McConnell inaccurately claims that every voter would save on taxes, a new Quinnipiac University Poll found that voters disapproved of the legislation by a lopsided 53-to-29-percent margin. Even more politically damaging for the Republicans is the belief by 61 percent of the electorate that the tax bill favors the rich.

By the way, these polling numbers do not have "unbeatable" written all over them. Rather the words that might better be associated with these survey statistics are "one-term president" and "former House Speaker Paul Ryan." Without minimizing gerrymandering, respected political analysts like Kyle Kondik at Sabato's Crystal Ball give the Democrats a 50-50 chance of winning back the House. And if Roy Moore is defeated in Alabama, there is a plausible scenario under which the Democrats could end up with a 51-to-49 Senate majority in 2019.

One obstacle to that is too many activists I know are of the "Visualize World Peace" variety who'd rather not get their hands dirty. Somehow positive intentions, the intensity of their feelings, and superior command of facts are supposed to carry the day. Even if those actually had power against the money and relentless negative messaging on the right, they have no motive force in front of a computer screen or television. Fortunately, boots on the ground can trump money in the bank (advice I've been giving since long before the current administration). Winning back the House and Senate will take work. Yeah, work. And, yes, the Democratic Party seems mighty puny, old-boy, and hidebound about now. And its network of consultants recommend tactics that pay their salaries rather than win elections (just look at Jon Ossoffs godawful TV ads, for heaven's sake). But it is lack of new blood — yours, maybe — that keeps that system in place and will keep Ryan and McConnell and The Saffron Don in place.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.