Daily Recap — August 3

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Happy Friday, Trumpers! There’s a lot of nonsense going on, but we won’t let it ruin our weekend.

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DACA INSANITY

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If you didn’t understand the absolute critical importance of reforming our country’s judiciary before now, this should open your eyes. My blood is absolutely boiling right now. 

In a ruling that flies in the face of rudimentary logic and basic law, a so-called federal judge ruled today that the Trump administration must fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In his 25-page opinion, Judge John Bates said the Trump White House had again failed to provide justification for its proposal to end DACA, under which nearly 800,000 people brought to the country illegally as children have received work permits and deferral from deportation.

The judge also said in his insane opinion that he has agreed to delay his ruling to give the Trump administration 20 days “to determine whether it intends to appeal the Court’s decision and, if so, to seek a stay pending appeal.”


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PDT rescinded DACA in September, a decision Bates wrote in his opinion “was arbitrary and capricious” with legal judgment that was “inadequately explained.” Bates further wrote that the U.S. District Court for D.C. holds that if the Trump administration wishes to rescind the program, or take any other action for that matter, it must “give a rational explanation for its decision.”

Earlier this year, the (shocker!) George W. Bush-appointed Bates became the third federal judge to reject Trump’s explanation for ending the program, ruling at the time that the decision by the Justice Department that the program was unlawful was “virtually unexplained.”

The restart won’t be immediate. U.S. District Judge John Bates said that the order would be delayed until Aug. 23 to allow the government to appeal, but he denied a DOJ motion to reconsider his earlier decision, saying there were still deficiencies in the administration’s rationale for rescinding DACA.

“The court has already once given DHS the opportunity to remedy these deficiencies — either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review,” said Bates, “So it will not do so again.”


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BIG PICTURE:

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So help me God when I read that this judge was demanding “explanations for the Trump administration’s rationale” in rescinding DACA it took everything inside me not to punch a hole in the wall.

THE PRESIDENT DOESN’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN A DAMN THING TO YOU. YOUR JOB IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER WHAT THE PRESIDENT DID WAS CONSTITUTIONAL. THAT’S IT. THAT’S YOUR ENTIRE JOB. YOU ARE NOT A DAMN DICTATOR IN A ROBE. 

Aside from the absolute travesty of a federal judge demanding that the decisions of a sitting POTUS meet his standards of “rationale.” this decision is a monstrosity purely on a legal level. No, I’m not a lawyer, BUT I DON’T HAVE TO BE. THIS RULING IS AN ABSOLUTE EMBARRASSMENT TO THE JUDICIARY.

It really couldn’t be any simpler but I’m going to explain it anyway. DACA itself was an unconstitutional executive order. It sought to override congressional immigration law. PRESIDENTS CAN’T JUST MAKE LAWS WITH A PEN. Yes, there are certain powers afforded to the executive branch in terms of policy, but where a law already exists it can’t just supersede it, regardless of “rationale.” 

But here’s the really bad part. TRUMP DIDN’T EVEN NEED TO DETERMINE THE LEGALITY OF DACA IN ORDER TO RESCIND IT. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A PERFECTLY LEGAL EXECUTIVE ORDER AND PDT WOULD HAVE STILL BEEN PERFECTLY WITHIN HIS LEGAL RIGHT TO END IT.

Again, this is so flippin simple. AN EXECUTIVE ORDER IS NOT A LAW PASSED BY CONGRESS. THEREFORE, JUST AS EASILY AS OBAMA SIGNED A PAPER TO ENACT DACA, THE NEXT PRESIDENT CAN SIGN A PAPER ENDING IT. ONE PRESIDENT IS NOT MORE POWERFUL THAN THE NEXT. If DACA were a law passed by Congress, the judge would be absolutely correct. But it’s not. It was an EO signed by a president, and it can just as easily be unsigned by one. 

Think about what the judge is saying here. Did Obama have more constitutional power as POTUS than Trump does? Of course not. The presidency is the presidency is the presidency. Trump has the exact same damn powers as Obama did. So why the hell does Trump need to explain to a federal judge why he has chosen to use the exact same powers as the president who preceded him? 

This ruling is absolutely stunning. It’s nothing less than a giant middle finger to the most basic principles of the Constitution. That a man would attach his name to such a ruling is disgraceful and indicates a deep animus toward the president. There’s simply no other way to explain it. The Left have been judge-shopping to get rulings like this, and unfortunately, judges appointed from the Bush world have shown themselves to be just as problematic as the Obama drones. 

To add some salt in the wound, the ruling will also serve as a giant flashing neon sign on the southern border telling everyone and their mama to bring the kids on up, because judicial activists will ensure that the President of the United States is knee-capped in his efforts to execute his most fundamental duty, protecting our country from invaders. 

The only silver lining I see here is that this has to make it to the Supreme Court. I can’t fathom such an obviously backwards ruling being allowed to stand in the long run. Thus far, the SCOTUS has been our saving grace against the preposterous rulings of the lower courts. 

I pray that’s the case here, because the judiciary in our country just reached a new low. This is naked activism. It cannot be allowed to stand. 

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JARED’S LATEST PROJECT

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One of the most underreported stories of the moment is the near 30% of the black community who support The Donald; a 14% gain since just last year and climbing. Aside from an economy that has raised all boats, so to speak, stories like this one may provide us with a glimpse of how PDT has quietly managed to gain more support from the black community than any GOP president in modern history.  

PDT repeatedly told the Swamp that he’s open to a new proposal on prison and sentencing reform, just as it seemed to be dying an unceremonious death on the Hill. 


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HOLD UP, JACK. WHAT KINDA PRISON REFORM ARE WE TALMBOUT HERE?

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Basically, Dims have been trying to get their voters out of prison for quite a while now. Reagan’s War on Drugs and Clinton’s later #SuperPredatorHunt landed a lot of #BadHombres in the poke and many of the same sentencing laws that keep them there are still in place. All Dims think that’s a bad thing, as opposed to about a third of the GOP.

The compromise presented to PDT by RINO senators at a White House meeting today would combine the prison reform bill passed by the House in May — the First Step Act — with four sentencing reform provisions that have bipartisan Senate backing.

It would lower lifetime mandatory minimum sentences for people with prior nonviolent drug felony convictions to 25 years and reduce 20-year mandatory minimum sentences for similar offenders to 15 years.

In order to find compromise between RINOs and Dims, that provision wouldn’t be effective retroactively. 

Another reform would free judges from having to ratchet up sentences for drug offenders convicted on simultaneous charges. For example, a requirement known as the “stacking enhancement” forced judges to treat convictions on multiple charges as prior offenses and mandated long punishments for nonviolent drug offenders.

Again, in order to get bipartisan support, this reform would not apply retroactively.

A third reform would apply the Fair Sentencing Act, which Congress passed in 2010 and reduced the disparity between cocaine- and crack-related offenses, retroactively. Crack is often treated more harshly than cocaine. It’s seen as a racist sentencing law because cocaine is more of a white thing and crack is more of a black thing. It couldn’t possibly be because of the disparity in effects the respective drugs have had on the community. Nope, it was racist white guys in a back room coming up with yet another way to screw over black folk. Yeah, that’s the ticket.     

The final reform would expand exceptions to the application of mandatory-minimum sentences to more people with criminal histories. Fewer mandatory minimums across the board. Just another way to cut down on prison time altogether pretty much. 

All in all, it’s just a list of ways to cut down on the prison population. Some folks believe we need to be tough on crime; others believe it’s counterproductive. I personally haven’t encountered any American studies in which lax policy has equated to greater obedience of the law, but I guess we can give it another whirl. Hey, why not.


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IS THIS THING GOING TO PASS?

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Frankly, it’s nearly impossible to guess, but the potential is definitely there. White House sources said the president was “positively inclined” toward the compromise proposal. Reportedly, PDT told GOP senators to “do some work with your colleagues” and “let’s see where the Senate is and then come back to me with it.”

 

“We passed the First Step Act through the House, and we’re working with the Senate to pass that into law. And I think we’ll be able to do it,” PDT said in public comments today at a meeting with inner city pastors.

The main Republicans involved are Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (IA) and Sens. Mike Lee (UT), Twinkletoes Graham (Prefer not to say) and Tim Scott (SC).

Jared Kushner, who has been leading this project; Shahira Knight, the new White House legislative affairs director; and badass White House chief of staff John Kelly also attended the White House meeting. It seems like the entire West Wing is in on this thing. 

If it does pass, though, it won’t do so with smooth sailing. 

Solid conservatives, led by Tom Cotton (R-AR) have opposed to combining prison and sentencing reform, calling it a move in the wrong direction. Cotton argued in a speech at the Hudson Institute earlier this year that “if anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”

Keebler Jeff Session also opposes combining prison and sentencing reform. And aside from anything related to the Swamp, he’s been great on crime. Even Turtle McConnell shelved the bill altogether before it could hit the Senate floor, citing bigger fish to head-stab from the creek.

Kushner has been pounding down the doors to get the issue revisited, though, and Grassley was sure to note it for reporters:

“None of this would have ever happened without Kushner. He is key. I’ve never seen a White House staff person work as hard on an issue as he is on this,” Grassley said.  

Just imagine if he put that much energy in the The Wall. What a dream that’d be.


 

And then…….Grassley dropped a bomb right on Keebler’s head:

“With all that I have done to help Sessions to keep the president from firing from him, I think Sessions ought to stay out of it,” he said. 

Wow. That’s not just a low blow, that’s a fist right between the eyes. Something has gone way south between those two men. On another note, is Chuck friggin Grassley really the only thing keeping PDT from firing Sessions? Color me skeptical. But we’ll save that debate for another time.

Another formidable opponent is Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (TX), the sponsor of his own Senate prison reform legislation that would shift lower-risk inmates to less restrictive conditions and promote partnerships with faith-based and charitable groups to reduce recidivism.

Transforming people through God. What a concept. 

In February, Cornyn said he favored moving prison reform separately from sentencing reform because he thought the latter “was opposed by a number of lawmakers, preventing it from even being considered by the Senate.”

Cornyn yesterday said he has an “open mind” about getting a broader criminal justice bill signed into law, which basically means he’ll support it so long as it doesn’t step on his own bill’s toes.

“I’d like to be able to get something important done. I think there’s a broad consensus on prison reform. The question is on sentencing reform, and we’re trying to find a way to thread the needle,” he said.


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BIG PICTURE:

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This is quite fascinating from a political perspective. Bear in mind, what I’m doing in this section is political analysis, not espousing my own personal views. Let’s look at this through an objective lens. 

At cursory glance, the type of legislation jumps off the page as a cancer to the Republican base. Toughness on crime is a hallmark of the GOP, at least during campaign time. Calling oneself the “law and order candidate” and then promptly pushing legislation that softens the approach on crime would seem hypocritical at best, a betrayal at worst. 

But the legislation touts support from traditionally solid conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the American Conservative Union, as well as a surprising large number of evangelical voters. 

Then thre is the fiscal argument. The number of inmates in federal prisons has swelled from 25,000 in 1980 to more than 205,000 in 2015, and taxpayer spending on federal inmates has increased from $330 million to $7.5 billion over that span.  

I note those facts because we essentially have to weight two opposing forces: hardline conservatives vs moderates and new black voters. In other words, can we gain enough of the latter to offset or even outweigh the loss in the former?

If we can indeed mitigate the damage from the soft-on-crime labels that GOP politicians will be terrified of carrying while solidifying our newfound 30% in the black community, we’ve created a voting bloc hybrid that seriously undermines a key Dim demographic. I’ll put this as simply as one possibly can: Dims cannot afford to lose 30% of blacks. Period, full stop. And with some recent polls putting Hispanic support around 40%, Dims would do well to work their rear ends off in the Rust Belt to win back some of the working class they lost by going full coochie-cap. It’s the only way they’ll negate this new advantage Trump has created. Fortunately for us, they’re not that clever.

As for my personal view, I’m skeptical about prison reform in general. I do believe that there are cases in which otherwise decent people get exorbitant sentences for getting involved in some bad business. In a perfect world, we’d separate those who wouldn’t hurt a fly from the truly #BadHombres. But we don’t live in that world, we live in this one. And in this one, the law must be applied equally and consistently (unless your name is Hillary Clinton).

I don’t particularly buy the “non-violent” buzzword here, either. The hardcore drug trade is an inherently violent business. Marijuana growers are one thing; cocaine pushers are quite another.

All in all, I hope they can draw up some common sense legislation that seeks to dole out reasonable punishment for reasonable people and hard punishment for social menaces. I’m skeptical that will happen, but if you’re willing to be cynical and view things through. a lens of political gamesmanship, it could be a shrew move.

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MANAFORT UPDATE

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Our boy Paulie had a bad day in court.

Manafort’s former accountant testified today that she helped falsify tax records on his behalf in order to misrepresent $900,000 in personal income as a business loan.

Cindy Laporta testified before a jury that she was asked by Manafort’s former business associate, Rick Gates, that Manafort couldn’t afford to pay his taxes 2015, telling her that she should instead misrepresent Manafort’s income.

That tax lie is estimated to have saved Manafort at least $400,000 in taxes, according to Laporta.

 

Of course, Laporta has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors for her testimony, and says she chose to go along with the scheme in order to avoid potential litigation from Manafort’s lobbying firm.

“I had a couple of choices at that point,” Laporta said. “I could have refused to file the tax return,” which would have led to a lawsuit, she said.

“I could have called Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates liars,” she continued. “But Mr. Manafort was a longtime client of the firm and I did not want to do that, either.”

Laporta went on to say that she regretted the decision to falsify the tax records. When she asked Gates for a record of the so-called business loan, she said, he provided a document bearing Manafort’s signature.

She’s just the latest to come forward and stick the knife in Manafort’s back. Her testimony came a day after the personal bookkeeper testified that Manafort approved “every penny” of his financial dealings amid reports that he spent lavishly on menswear and items for his home.

Just to refresh your memory, Manafort is facing 18 separate charges related to the same kinds of misrepresentations on tax forms, failures to register as an agent, etc. He is looking at life in prison if convicted.

He is being squeezed by the federal government because of who he is associated with politically. He won’t tell Mueller a fairy tale about Russian collusion so they went back 12 years to find tax violations to convict him on. It’s impossible to say who is even credible, given the strong-arm tactics executed by the Mueller team. For all we know, everyone is just trying to save themselves from a rogue prosecutor who is determined to get his scalp regardless of the corruption tactics he must use.

It’s an absolute disgrace and I’m ashamed that it’s happening in my country. I hope PDT will come out even stronger than he has about this. This can’t be allowed to happen here.

This is how tyranny begins.

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FROM THE MAILBAG

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I used to do this every Friday and thought I’d revive it a bit. I’ll only be tackling two question here, whereas others will be answered in the thread in which it was asked. These were the two most oft-asked questions:


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Q:  Will Dims be able to delay the Kavanaugh vote until after the midterms?

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Excellent question, Sir. The answer depends on who ask, but luckily for you, I’m right like 140% of the time so chances are I’ll give you the correct one. 

Here’s the deal.

Cryin’ Chuck and the Dims are requesting every document under the sun on Kavanuagh. Cos see, if you’re a military-age male Muslim from a jihadist war zone, #ExtremeVetting is racist. If you’re a Trump SCOTUS nominee, however, you must have every heartbeat of your life analyzed with a fine-tooth comb.

The volume of Kavanaugh’s records — more than 1 million friggin pages of documents — dwarfs those of the past two Supreme Court justices to be confirmed: Neil Gorsuch and Elena Kagan. Just as a point of reference, senators reviewed about 182,000 pages of documents on Gorsuch and about 170,000 pages on Kagan.

Kavanaugh’s records include 307 opinions he wrote in his past 12 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 6,168 pages of responses he submitted to a Judiciary Committee questionnaire, and hundreds of thousands of pages from his time working in the White House Counsel’s Office and the Office of the Independent Counsel. 

For a second there, things looked hopeless. How on Earth could all those documents be expedited so as to get Kavanaugh on the bench before the midterms? Even the National Archives, who are responsible for producing most of said documentation, issued some bad news to Sen. Grassley.

The Archives’ general counsel told Grassley that “we will not be able to complete our review of all of the records” by mid-August, as he requested. The absurd request for review of emails that Kavanaugh sent while serving in George W. Bush’s White House counsel’s office and text documents, totaling an estimated 300,000 pages, can be finished by Aug. 20, they said, but the release of a projected 600,000 pages in further records cannot be finished until “the end of October,” the Archives told Grassley.

While that would still technically leave time for confirmation hearings and a vote, it would leave Senate Republicans with only a week to do so after all the documents had been produced. That’s virtually no wiggle room, especially in DC, where nothing happens on time. 

Indeed, things looked grim…..until an unlike hero showed up to save the day!

Former President George Dubya. Bush, in whose White House Kavanaugh worked for five years, is lending resources to help processing Kavanaugh records in a bid to help expedite the release of the records Grassley and his fellow Republicans have requested.

Without Bush‘s assistance on the GOP’s full request — projected to top 900,000 pages — the party’s plans to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterms would have a seriously hard row to hoe. But with the Dubya power added to the arsenal, the party is pushing forward on Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings next month, citing the document review spearheaded by Bill Burck, Bush’s Presidential Records Act representative since 2009.

And Turtle McConnell has announced he has no intention of backing down from his vow to get Kavanaugh on the court before voters go to the polls for an election.

Whether you love or hate Turtle, he is actually really good at these process matters. If he needs to maneuver in order to get something like this done, he will. And whether we want to admit it or not, Turtle deserves the lion’s share of credit for not having a Barry nominee on the SCOTUS rather than Gorsuch. He also deserves credit for all the new people we’ve put on the federal bench over the last year (a record number in fact).

So my prediction: Yes, they’ll get it done. All hands are on deck and Turtle is leaving nothing to the midterms.

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Q: How are things looking for the midterms?

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If you’re tired of reading, here’s the short answer: House is a toss-up, Republicans very likely to win Senate.

For the rest of you nerds, let’s dive in.

Let me preface this by saying we have 3 months before midterms. While that’s just around the corner, it’s also an eternity in politics. Many things can and will happen between now and then, especially in the Trump era. Have you seen how much news this guy makes in just one week? You should try writing about him for a living. 

So while I can give you a semi-accurate snapshot of where things stand, it by no means should be taken as the Gospel for what things will look like November.

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THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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One important data point to know is that Dims have quietly regained much of their lead in the generic congressional ballot. A generic ballot is simply a poll that asks voters which party they would like to be control of Congress. Dims had as much as a 15 point last year, before seeing it all but evaporate in some polls and disappear completely in others. 

The current lead in the generic ballot, if you go by the RealClearPolitics polling average, has quietly doubled since the beginning of June, from a mere 3.2 percentage points to a healthy 7.1 points. I’ve explained this in detail before and won’t make your eyes bleed again, but suffice it to say, due to the electoral map, Dims need about a 7 point lead in the generic ballot in order to be considered about even. Most of it has to do with their voters being densely populated in urban areas. They seem to have achieved that margin, so they’re very competitive right now. 

Real Clear Politics

One GOP-held seat, thanks to so-called de-gerrymandering, is now considered a Safe Democratic win; two others are considered Likely Democratic pickups. Four Republican districts — three of which are open seats with no incumbent — fall in the Lean Democratic camp, and 33 GOP-held seats are rated as toss-ups.If you added the 16 seats that merely Lean Republican, then the 2018 House battlefield equals around 60 districts. Democrats need to flip 24 Republican seats to take back the House. By the looks of things, they could win less than half of the competitive districts and still pull it off.

Conversely, just one Dim seat is considered a Safe Republican win (again, a result of the Pennsylvania redistricting) and only two Dim-held seats are rated as toss-ups. In other words, almost the entire 2018 campaign will be fought over GOP-held territory.

Bear in mind, Republicans are actually incredibly lucky. History tells us that the minority party almost invariably makes big gains during midterm elections. However, we have just enough Dim seats in play to make this a very competitive race if we only pick up one or two seats that we weren’t supposed to. We also have the biggest advantage of all: a good economy. 

Another thing Republicans have on their side is the voters Dims are relying upon for their “blue wave.” Much of said wave is predicated on the idea that young people will turn out in droves to swamp the old white folks. But gain, history tends to be the most reliable teacher, and it tells us that young voters are notoriously unreliable. Even recent polling underscores the real risk that Generation Tide Pod won’t turn out as hoped.

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OFFICIAL PREDICTION:

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Dims have history on their side, but Republicans have Dims on their side. It’s as close to 50/50 as you’re going to get. Bear in mind, though, PDT is going to be campaigning his ass off 6/7 days a week in the weeks leading up to the elections. He’s a hell of a closer. I wouldn’t put a great deal of stock into any numbers right now.

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THE SENATE:

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While the fight for control of the House is playing out mainly in the affluent and highly educated suburban districts that have been hotbeds of coochie cap fervor, many of them on the coasts, the Senate campaign is taking place on much more Trump-friendly terrain, aka Real America.
Six of the most competitive Senate races are in states PDT carried by double digits: Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. (Democrats hold all of those seats except Tennessee’s.)
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Meanwhile, Republicans have 9 seats to defend, but Dims only feel they have a chance in 3 of those: Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.
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We’ll probably end up with Martha McSally in Arizona because Sheriff Joe Arpaio is too stubborn to get out of the race and allow Kelli Ward to get all of the hardline immigration vote. Oh well, she’s not all that bad. Could be much worse. She’s 1000x better than Cooter McCain. 
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Heller is in the hot seat in Nevada but he’s very good at getting reelected. Don’t count him out. He has reach with independents, which factor prominently in Nevada. He’s a RINO in many cases, but again, much better than a Dim. Tennessee is a toss-up with possible slight lean to Republicans. The Dim challenger is an old trusted name but their voters tend to come home to the GOP at election time. I wouldn’t bet on it either way right now, though, at least not until late October when I can get a more accurate feel of the climate. 
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OFFICIAL PREDICTION:
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If I HAD to guess, I’d say Republicans gain 3 seats in the Senate before all is said and done. That will help us somewhat, especially for bills we can move under the reconciliation process (where only a simple majority is needed). We still need more Trumpers, though. 
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BIG PICTURE:

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It’s neck and neck. Get ready to put your walking shoes on and pitch in for the effort because we’re going to need all of you. PDT is going to bust his rear end and we need to follow suit. We’re going to use the TTC to strategize, mobilize and win. Get ready!

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Thank you for sticking with me for yet another week, RealNewsRevolt brethren. It’s been a maddening one. I wish conservative voices enjoyed the same liberty as our leftist counterparts but the fact is we don’t. We’re going to have to fight for everything we get. But that’s ok, as it will make victory taste that much sweeter.
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I can tell you that I’m not going anywhere, even if it means writing at 1am Friday night to compensate for the time that was stolen from us. I’m going to be heard, Jack. They want their monopoly on information back. 
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That ship has sailed, Jack. 
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