Trump is certainly afraid of something

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Morning Headlines

CNN Politics9th Circuit deals Trump travel ban another defeat

Washington PostD.C. and Maryland AGs: Trump ‘flagrantly violating’ emoluments clause

The HillTrump says he’s accomplished more than anyone but FDR in six months

PoliticoSessions to testify in open hearing before Senate Intelligence Committee

New York TimesAcross Russia, protesters heed Navalny’s anti-Kremlin rallying cry

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The future of the Democratic Party (video)

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Morning Headlines

New York TimesDemocrats in split-screen: The base wants it all. The party wants to win.

Washington PostTrump sees Comey’s testimony as ‘complete vindication’ — and his fans agree

The Hill: Economy emerges as bright spot for Trump

CNN PoliticsSessions says he plans to testify before Senate intelligence panel

PoliticoGraham: Trump could ‘go down’ because of ‘inappropriate’ statements

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Georgia 6th special: Ossoff pulls ahead in new poll; Republicans release desperate ad (video)

The special House election for the Georgia 6th is just eleven days away, and while all eyes were on Washington yesterday for former FBI Director James Comey’s stellar performance, things are heating up down south.

According to a new poll by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Democrat Jon Ossoff has pulled out to a 7 point lead ahead of Republican Karen Handel, 51 to 44 points and early voting is up.

Early voting in the district is looking significantly stronger than it was in the first round, with nearly 70,000 votes cast already, and a trajectory of perhaps 100,000. Ossoff handily won among the 55,000 early voters in the primary, when the total vote was only 159,000. So this could be another good sign for him, although, as Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman says: “The extraordinary pace has Republicans optimistic they’ve awoken their dormant base.”

By the looks of things, Handel and team are getting pretty desperate as they released a new ad attempting to connect Ossoff to Kathy Griffen’s foolish Trump beheading stunt, despite the complete lack of connection between the two.

I like this bit of fakery, as pointed out by Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine. He notes that the ad uses “a quick, grainy image of Griffin high-fiving a young man. It’s actually fake-Trump-beheading photographer Tyler Shields, but in the flash of a moment he could sure pass for Jon Ossoff. It should be reasonably clear Republicans are counting on older voters to win this thing.”

Good one.

This race will be close, and likely depend on the ground game as well as voter enthusiasm. Anyone’s guess.

Here’s the anti-Ossoff ad mentioned above. I’m unsure of the wisdom of attempting to portray Jon Ossoff as childish when the man at the head of the Republican Party is little more than a frat-boy-in-chief.

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Brietbart would fail miserably without the support of one billionaire

Here’s your daily bit of irony. The Washington Post is reporting today that advertising on the “the alt-right website Breitbart.com has dropped 90 percent in recent months, from 242 in March to 26 in May, according to data from MediaRadar, a New York firm that tracks online advertising.”

Those still ponying up to have clickers click on their ads include”a gentleman’s club in Northern Virginia, a golf resort near the coast of Spain and the conservative foundation Judicial Watch.”

As the story implies, it makes little sense to align with such an obnoxiously partisan media outlet and in so doing run the risk of alienating a large part of the purchasing public. And as advertisers pay close attention to web traffic, there is this:

The number of visitors to Breitbart.com has also taken a hit, tumbling 53 percent since November, to about 10.8 million unique visitors in May, according to ComScore. (Web traffic to The Washington Post, meanwhile, is down about 24 percent in the same period.)

But the irony is contained in this comment by Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York:

“If Breitbart lost every single penny of advertising tomorrow, it probably wouldn’t matter,” Jarvis said, adding that the site is backed by billionaire Robert Mercer. “Quite the contrary: It would probably be a badge of honor.”

The right wing always goes on about how media like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should die if they can’t survive in the marketplace without public funding. But it’s apparently okay for hyper-right wing media like Brietbart to fail in the marketplace but survive due to access to one gigantic billionaire teat.

A market of one. Sounds very democratic, doesn’t it?

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Morning Headlines

New York Times: Theresa May loses overall majority in U.K. Parliament

Washington Post: Comey: White House lied about me, FBI

Politico: Trump breaks his silence: ‘Comey is a leaker!’

The Hill: Trump’s ‘infrastructure week’ goes off the rails

CNN Politics: Trump, critics gird for long war after Comey’s moment

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Because Trump is a lying sack of crap. What was the question again? (video)

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Setting the table for Comey’s testimony (video)

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Morning Headlines

New York Times: Comey says Trump pressured him to ‘lift the cloud’ of inquiry

Washington Post: Comey’s testimony could turn congressional probes toward question of obstruction

Politico: Trump approval rating hits new low in Quinnipiac poll

CNN Politics: Republicans to Trump: No TV or tweeting during Comey hearing

The Hill: Mixed signals complicate GOP debt hike strategies

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Karen Handel: “I do not support a livable wage” (GA-6th CD special election)

Well, there’s one she wishes she could get back, but there are no do-overs in politics. Karen Handel, the Republican candidate in the Georgia 6th special House election, blurted out a pretty bad sound bite in a recent debate with her Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff.

In answer to a question about whether government should gaurantee a wage sufficient for a worker to actually live on, Ossoff essentially said yes and Handel no. This is really a question about the reach of government and the power it should have to compel private businesses to pay their employees a wage high enough to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their families. Democrats typically say more power to compel, Republicans say less (because, they would say, the market should determine wages).

Unfortunately, Handel’s comments made it sound like she doesn’t think people should be paid enough to live on when she said “I do not support a livable wage.”

The election is on June 20th and you can be sure Democrats are putting the final touches on a new ad or five that makes use of the clip. While Handel genuinely misspoke, her comments do echo concerns that when it comes down to it Republicans aren’t all that worried about workers as long as corporate profits remain high.

Sometimes candidates accidentally say what they really mean.

As for its impact on the campaign, probably not much. But as Ossoff is supposed to be the newbie and Handel the veteran, it doesn’t say much for her that she could make such a stupid mistake. Voters might notice.

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Party nominees chosen for 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race

Is anyone paying attention to this year’s gubernatorial election in New Jersey? Apparently not, but they are going ahead with the vote anyway. Yesterday they held a primary in the state to determine the party candidates for the general election later in the year and here’s what happened:

Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, won the Democratic nomination. Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor, won for the Republicans.

As a Wall Street guy, Murphy’s nomination won’t thrill many progressives, but Guadagno is probably so toxic by virtue of her proximity to Gov. Christie that it won’t matter much. In a head-to-head matchup a recent poll has Murphy leading Guadagno by a 50 to 25 point margin.

Maybe because everyone expects New Jersey to go blue this year no one is paying the process any mind, but for a while there Christie was a Trump guy until he became too much of a liability. That’s right, too much of a liability for Trump. Think about that.

Maybe not a referendum on Trump because Christie is a disaster in his own right, but I’ll take it.

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MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki: GOP headed for trouble in the midterms (video)

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Morning Headlines

CNN Politics: Comey expected to refute Trump

New  York Times: Comey told Sessions: Don’t leave me alone with Trump

Washington Post: Top intelligence official told associates Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe

Politico: Chris Christie gets shoved out the door

The Hill: Fractured Republicans get options on healthcare

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Democrats experiment in the South Carolina 5th special election

House Democrats’ will be spending a bit of money on the upcoming special House election in the South Caolina 5th congressional district – $275,000 on their candidate Archie Parnell, to be exact.

The statement issued by the party makes it pretty clear, however, that they don’t think much of their chances.

“This investment will help turn out – and provide key lessons on – crucial voters for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and the 2018 midterms more broadly,” Cole Leiter, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman, said in a Monday statement to The Post and Courier.

“We’re proud to make this investment in organizing staff, African-American radio, mail, digital and other targeted voter outreach in the final weeks of this campaign and support a candidate like Archie Parnell who will stand up and fight for the smart, responsible kind of leadership this community needs.”

Trump won South Carolina by 18 points and absolutely no one thinks the Democrats are in a position to compete here, but they hope some lessons might be learned for future consideration.

Parnell was a Goldman Sachs senior adviser.  The Republican is state Rep. Ralph Norman. The seat has been vacant since Mick Mulvaney left to become Trump’s budget chief.

As with other recent special elections to fill seats left open by Trump’s Cabinet appointments, Democrats will hope to at least close the gap as a way to build momentum heading into 2018.

The election here is on June 20th, which means it will get completely overshadowed by whatever happens in the Georgia 6th on the same day.

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D-Day: June 6, 1944 (video)

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Morning Headlines

Boris Johnson

New York Times: Intelligence contractor is charged in first leak case under Trump

Politico: Boris Johnson: ‘No reason’ to cancel Donald Trump’s UK visit

CNN Politics: Trump’s populist wing on the rise

NBC News: Jeremy Corbyn: Socialist opposition leader gives U.K. establishment a run for its money

Washington Post: Pruitt’s claim that ‘almost 50,000 jobs’ have been gained in coal

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Putin: Hackers could have framed Russia (yeah, that’s the ticket!)

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Campaign Headlines

Rep. Rick Nolan

Roll Call: Minnesota’s Rick Nolan not running for governor

WRAL NewsUS Supreme Court tosses NC legislative districts; no special election ordered

Washington PostAmid Trump’s unpopularity, Democrats face rising criticism for failing to invest more in special elections

Sioux City JournalWeaver bows out of congressional race; cites death threats, move out of district

The HillGovernors, mayors, businesses, commit to Paris climate pact goals

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New York Gov. Cuomo rolls up his sleeves for the midterms

The New York Daily News is reporting today that for the first time Gov. Cuomo “will be actively involving himself in the effort to flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats by focusing on key races in New York.”

Does that sound like a man getting ready for a run at the White House in 2020? Yes it does.

“New York is on the front lines against Washington’s assault on progressive values,” Cuomo said in a message sent out by the Nassau County Democratic Party Sunday afternoon. “Join us for a rally to kick off the start of New York State’s coordinated campaign to take back the House district by district.”

By the lights of those who track such things, New York has 6 seats that could be within reach, which is a quarter of what would be needed to take the House.

According to The News “Cuomo has traditonally endorsed different Democratic House candidates, but has had little involvement in the campaigns.” Got it?

Cuomo is a bit too conservative for my taste, but I’d vote for literally anyone who could beat Trump. And, yes, I mean literally.

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