Like all of you, I am feeling a bit whiplashed by the dizzying pace of unusual foreign and domestic policy developments issuing from our nation's capital. Facebook is now saying that it is seeing some of the same kinds of attacks being perpetrated against our midterm elections as it saw during the 2016 election cycle.
Following a NATO Summit where the President ruffled our allies’ feathers, he followed up with a two-man summit and photo op between himself and Putin in Helsinki. Missing in all this is a rational foreign policy coordinated through the resources of our Federal Government. The follow-up Putin visit to Washington that was announced for this Autumn now seems to have sunk without trace, after a day of inarticulate obfuscation by the President.
More Trump missteps ... Now that he has dumped all over the Iran agreement, he is evidently ready to meet with Iran’s President at any time. Meanwhile, reports are emerging that North Korea could be building new missiles. And the President says he is ready to shut down the government over border security though Messrs McConnell and Ryan say they are not interested in a shutdown. I suppose it would be churlish at this point to remind you the President blithely claimed during the campaign that Mexico was going to pay for the wall.
Rudy Holds Forth
Trump’s representative Rudy Giuliani gyrates through the airwaves daily with a song and dance about the Mueller investigation, spinning this way and that ... there was no collusion, but even if there were, it wouldn’t have been a crime ... there may have been another meeting before the Trump Tower meeting or not, but if there were, the President definitely didn’t attend it ... nothing will happen in the Manafort trial that can hurt the President ... nothing lawyer Cohen knows could harm the President. And so on and so on ...
All of this begs the question that if the President is such a great judge of character and has so many great people around him, why is this cast of characters dominating public discourse in such a unique way?
And we are watching as Trump’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court confirmation, Judge Kavanaugh, is set to undergo his confirmation hearing facing very divided public opinion, with a lower public opinion approval levels than Harriet Meirs. After countries like Mexico, Canada, and China implemented retaliatory tariffs, the Administration is offering up a $12 billion agricultural aid package. But, the dairy industry alone has lost $1.8 billion in the last several weeks; the U.S. has the largest cheese surplus in our history; dairy farmers will likely face volatile prices; and there is no guarantee that lost markets abroad can be regained. California Attorney General Becerra’s office has now filed 38 legal actions (the number was only 24 last December) against federal agencies or opposing new administration policies.
What's Our Answer?
We have all heard that old Will Rogers saw, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Humor has its place, but my thoughts are being drawn more to 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who noted that “a majority is always better than the best repartee.” The majority we need to be focused on is attaining a majority in the House, for which we need 24 additional Democratic seats. The odds that we will take the House appear to have improved over the past month. On Tuesday, the University of Virginia’s Crystal Ball changed its ratings in 17 House districts…all in favor of Democrats. The Democratic lead in the generic ballot of RealClearPolitics polling average has shifted from 3.2 percentage points to 7.1 points.
Democrats have been outraising Republicans in a number of competitive districts. In fact, for the second quarter this year, in House races, Democrats outraised Republicans. Democrats outraised 56 Republican incumbents while only three Republicans outraised Democratic incumbents, $146 million to $102 mil (Politico). But, as we all know, the only poll that counts is the voting that takes place in our General Election on November 6, so let’s stay organized and focused.
On August 2, the day of our next Club meeting, we will be 96 days away from the election. For those of you who want to make an active contribution to Democratic efforts the time is nigh ... voter registration, canvassing, phoning, helping with mailing, donating to campaigns. And remember that, 52 percent of voters in Ventura are vote-by-mail (VBM). Those ballots will be arriving at homes around the first of October, so the opportunity to influence those voters falls away as election day approaches.
For those of us in the Democratic Club of Camarillo, who are interested in helping to flip a House seat, the nearest available opportunity is CA-25, where Katie Hill is running against Republican incumbent Steve Knight. Ryan Valencia, the First Vice Chair of the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee will be attending our Thursday meeting to update us on that campaign and tell us how we can help. More below ...
Hollywood is Calling!
Are any of you interested in being an extra in a Democratic PAC film being produced in Santa Paula? Producer Tye Alexander is looking for about 100 enthusiastic extras to be in Santa Paula on Sunday, August 5th. He may also be looking for a few cameo speakers. If you are interested, contact Tye at (914) 441-8311 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also upcoming is the Ventura County Fair, where our club will be staffing the booth on Wednesday, August 8th. We are still looking for volunteers, so please call me at (805) 689-8108) if you are available any time from 10 am to 10 pm.
Our Club Meeting
We have a full agenda for our Club meeting. As noted above, Ryan Valencia will speak about Katie Hill’s CA-25 congressional campaign; he will also address Christy Smith’s California Assembly campaign. In addition, CSUCI Adjunct Professor of Political Science Tim Allison will speak about the propositions that are going to be on the ballot in November.
I look forward to seeing you there,