TCG Weekly Digest – October 9th, 2015


Week ending October 9, 2015

Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drops out of Speaker race

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is reached but fight in Congress ahead

  • Russia bombs US backed rebels;  NATO now ‘ready to send troops’


Trump now leads in major swing states: Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania:

Florida: Trump 28%, Carson 16%, Rubio 14%, Bush 12%, Fiorina 7%, Cruz 6%

Ohio: Trump 23%, Carson 18%, Kasich 13%, Cruz 11%, Fiorina 10%, Rubio 7%, Bush 4%

Pennsylvania: Trump 23%, Carson 17%, Rubio at 12%, Fiorina 8%, Cruz 6%, Christie 5%, Bush 4%

Clinton holds a solid lead in these important states too:

Florida: Clinton 43%, Sanders 19%, Biden 19%

Ohio: Clinton 40%, Biden 21%, Sanders 19%

Pennsylvania: Clinton 36%, Biden 25%, Sanders 19%, Quinnipiac [More]

Pollsters: Don’t trust us to winnow GOP field: “Pollsters surveyed by POLITICO have a unanimous warning for the [RNC] and the TV networks who are using public-opinion surveys to exclude presidential candidates from debates: Don’t trust polls to detect often-tiny grades of opinion in a giant field.” Steve Shepard, Politico [More]

2016 Presidential Campaign

 Two plausible paths for a narrow GOP win next year: The Electoral College math suggests two plausible paths for a narrow GOP win next year. The Republican nominee wins every Romney state, all three key swing states, and either Colorado, Iowa or New Hampshire. [OR] by (1) carrying all the Romney states, (2) winning Florida and Ohio, (3) losing Virginia but (4) pulling off a Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire trifecta. This last scenario is very unlikely.” Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell, Politico [More]

The rock-star appeal of Bernie Sanders: “Sanders was perceptive enough to frame a message that is perfect for the zeitgeist: The system is rigged to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. And having identified the problem, he offers clear and internally consistent remedies.” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post [More]

5 reasons to bet $5 on Marco Rubio … [W]hy so many pundits, campaign pros and reporters bet on Rubio eventually winning the nomination”: “Rubio is a quicker study on policy, a superior speaker and a more concise counter-attacker than just about anyone else in the field. Rubio has no natural electoral or fundraising base, his tentative, unsuccessful stab at comprehensive immigration reform put him in a bad place at a time when the party’s likely voters are more interested in walls than paths to citizenship, and he’s not even especially popular with Latinos, not even in Florida. Yet this protean political personality also gives him flexibility to out-maneuver indelibly-branded candidates like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bush and Trump.” Glenn Thrush, Politico [More]  

Does Congress understand its constituents?: “Politicians are free to ignore public opinion — and some consider it a virtue to do so — but they frequently misperceive it …The fact that legislators on the right make consistently bigger errors in assuming the conservatism of their constituents may account for some of the dysfunction evident in today’s GOP.” Mark Mellman (TCG Speaker), The Hill [More]

Hillary Clinton: on post-crisis financial reform: “People who commit serious financial crimes should face serious consequences, including big fines, disbarment from working in the industry and the prospect of imprisonment. As president, I will seek to extend the statute of limitations for major financial crimes, enhance whistle-blower rewards, and increase resources for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate and prosecute individuals. We should also hold financial executives accountable for egregious misconduct by their subordinates. They need to lose their bonuses and, in some cases, their jobs.”  Hillary Clinton, Bloomberg [More]

The Economy

Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is reached: But Congressional approval of the pact will be one of the toughest fights ever for Obama. Jackie Calmes, New York Times [More]

Highway construction to be paid for by a billion dollars a year from U.S. banks?:  A highway-funding bill backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (TCG Speaker) (R-KY) and passed by the Senate, would cut the annual dividend payments banks receive for holding shares in the Federal Reserve System and use the savings for highway construction.  Lawmakers like it because it adds new revenue without a tax and avoids raising the gasoline tax. House GOP leaders haven’t moved on the Senate bill.  Ryan Tracy, Wall Street Journal [More]

Deflation in Asia hurting profits and sparking job losses: “Deflation, a prolonged decline in the price of products, is…casting a chill over Japan and Europe, while also endangering US efforts to sustain a recovery. It is hard to see a silver lining at this stage of Asia’s deflationary period, with overcapacity still chronic, trade demand weakening, productivity anaemic and the global economy in poor shape.” James Kynge and Jonathan Wheatley, Financial Times [More]

Emerging economies risk “leading the world economy into a slump.” “Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said last week that the global economic patterns were “disappointing and uneven.” [The IMF’s] reasonably sanguine view stems from an expectation that China will succeed in transforming its economy slowly from investment and manufacturing towards consumption and services.” Chris Giles, Financial Times [More]

Foreign Affairs and National Security

With only a handful of fighters, the US is scaling back its Syria rebel training program as Russia starts airstrikes in Syria: “The Pentagon is … saying it will abandon plans to build an army from the ground up to fight Islamic State in favor of beefing up its provision of weapons and equipment directly to vetted Syrian rebel commanders.” Gordon Lubold and Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal  [More]

America’s fading footprint in the Middle East: “As seasoned politicians and diplomats survey the mayhem, they struggle to recall a moment when America counted for so little in the Middle East—and when it was held in such contempt, by friend and foe alike. “It’s the lowest ebb since World War II for U.S. influence and engagement in the region,” said Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who served as the Obama administration’s ambassador to Afghanistan. Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal [More]

“Russia’s bombing of anti-regime rebels in Syria has been described as a disaster for the US-led coalition’s efforts to destroy ISIS but the Kremlin’s real challenge to Washington is in the skies above the war-torn country. Moscow has deployed assets which render the prospect of no-fly zones enforced by the US or its allies over Syria impossible to enact.” Sam Jones,  Financial Times  [More]

Following Russian violation, NATO ‘ready to send troops”: “NATO is ready to defend Turkey – including sending in troops “if needed”, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said. The head of the US-led alliance warned it would be prepared to protect its allies from “threats”, following reports of Russian jets in Turkish airspace.” Victoria Richards, The Telegraph [More]

Russian airstrikes in Syria – what does Putin want in Middle East?: “As Russia’s bombardment of anti-Assad rebel positions in Syria escalates, western policymakers and strategists are trying to figure out what Vladimir Putin’s military goals are — and if he intends to help the regime regain territory lost to opposition forces. Even with a dramatic reassertion of its muscle in the Middle East already achieved, and amid howls of protest from Washington, Europe and the Gulf states, Russia continues to build up its forces in Syria.  As well as its base at Latakia, Moscow is now moving to strengthen its naval base at Tartus with an “anti-terror” squadron of ships and repair vessels.” Sam Jones, Financial Times [More]

US airstrikes hit Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 24: “The deaths of 12 hospital staff members and 10 patients have been confirmed in the American airstrike, with an additional 37 people wounded. Five days after the Oct. 3 attack, Doctors Without Borders was still unable to find the 24 staff members.” Rob Nordland, New York Times [More]

How the Pacific Trade Deal Is good for the U.S. and Obama’s legacy: “After years of talks…this is a big win for U.S. negotiators and for the other countries involved. It will also be a crucial part of President Obama’s foreign policy legacy.” Ian Bremmer, Time [More]

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) accidental honesty about Benghazi may have been the final straw: “On Monday, all five committee Democrats wrote to Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), warning him that they intend to start unilaterally releasing full, unedited transcripts to the public, providing Americans with information Republicans have tried to keep under wraps.” Steve Benen, MSNBC [More]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Benghazi Committee, sent a scathing 13-page letter to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.): “Gowdy urged Cummings to “rise above the political pressure” being put on him by Democrat…Gowdy scolded Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi Committee, for putting on a “public posture” that is “quite the opposite” from the one he has taken during private discussions.” Jason Howerton, The Blaze [More]

Domestic Affairs

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drops out of Speaker race: “A source close to McCarthy told CNN the decision to drop out came down to “numbers, pure and simple,” adding that “he had the votes to win the conference vote, but there just wasn’t a path to 218.” Tal Kopan, Deirdre Walsh, Manu Raju, Dana Bash and Jeremy Diamond, CNN [More]

Affair rumors may have led to McCarthy Exit: “In the hours before Kevin McCarthy abruptly withdrew his candidacy to be the next speaker of the House, he received an email from a conservative activist threatening to expose an alleged affair with a colleague. It was addressed to McCarthy and numerous others, including the personal account of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), whom conservative media sites have suggested is tied romantically to McCarthy.” Michael Calderone, Huffington Post [More]

Supreme Court cases to watch: “After a year in which liberals scored impressive, high-profile Supreme Court victories, conservatives could be in line for wins on some of this term’s most contentious issues, as the justices consider cases that could gut public sector labor unions and roll back affirmative action at state universities.” Josh Gerstein, Politico  [More]

Governor Jerry Brown signs bill implementing “Right to Die” legislation: The only state this year to pass a bill allowing terminally ill patients to end their life, California becomes the fifth state to allow doctors to prescribe medication to terminally-ill patients who want to die with dignity. Jon Schuppe, NBC [More]

DMV’s closing in Alabama sparks request for DOJ investigation: Closing the DMV branches will make it much harder for many to register to vote.  Congresswoman Terri Sewell sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a federal voting rights probe. Zachary Roth, MSNBC [More]

DOJ planning to release 6,000 inmates early from prison: “The releases are part of a shift in the nation’s approach to criminal justice and drug sentencing that has been driven by a bipartisan consensus that mass incarceration has failed and should be reversed.” Sari Horwitz, Washington Post [More]

Fighting Extremist religion: “The real clash of the 21st century will not be between civilizations or religions but within them. It will be between those who accept and those who reject the separation of religion and power. What then should we do? We must put the same long-term planning into strengthening religious freedom as was put into the spread of religious extremism.” Lord  Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal  [More]

Archive of Past Digests

TCG Weekly Digest – October 2nd, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 25th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 18th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 11th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 4th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 28th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 21st, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 15th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 7th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – July 30th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – July 24th, 2015